I have worked hard to raise my two boys, ages 10 and 5, in a safe, loving, Three Stooges-like environment.
Sometimes, when one of them is bathing, for instance, I'll accidentally toss a tumbler full of ice-cold water over the shower curtain.
Occasionally these Stooge-like impulses spill over into my work life, too. Earlier this month, we had a consultant in the newsroom, a college professor with a dry sense of humor. He marveled at the end of his visit that no one had "wagged a finger" at him all week.
As if on cue, I promptly gave him the Three Stooges wavy hand. Up and down. Up and down. He didn't laugh. Instead, he looked at me as if he thought this kind of behavior is about three standard deviations below the mean, or squarely in the moron range.
As you might imagine, the boys at my house are excited about the upcoming movie "The Three Stooges." It opens nationally April 13. It's directed and produced by the Farrelly Brothers, who brought us that masterpiece of the American cinema "Dumb & Dumber."
My two boys gathered around my Catnapper recliner last week, and we eagerly watched "The Three Stooges" movie trailer on my laptop computer. The flick, by the way, is being marketed with the brilliantly nuanced catch phrase: Get some Moe!
Watching the preview, the boys and I broke into sloppy laughter when Moe put a live lobster down Larry's pants, and then Larry began to grab frantically at his crotch and sing a high note like a fat lady in a Viking helmet.
I have met people -- actually, nearly all the women I know -- who think the Three Stooges are stupid.
My boys discovered the Stooges on cable, after years and years of watching sullen, unfunny cartoons like "Thomas and Friends" and "Caillou."
The Stooges hit their funny bones like a reflex hammer to the elbow. The boys laughed so hard watching their first Three Stooges episode that I thought they were both going to pop a blood vessel.
After awhile you start internalizing Stooge-craft and it becomes part of your moral core. I offer into evidence my 5-year-old son, a big Stooges fan, who, last Sunday, spontaneously began to tell me about all the joys of the afterlife.
"Daddy?" he said.
"I know a lot about heaven," he reported.
"Tell me some things, then," I said.
"Well, there is no hurting in heaven," he said.
"Yep," I acknowledged.
"And there's no hitting," he said.
"And there's no kicking," he said.
"And there's no passing gas," he said flatly.
Oh, well. That's my boy.
Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.