"Your mom!"

"Your mom’s so fat… she jumped up in the air and got stuck" "…every time she turns it’s her birthday "…she went to the movies and sat next to everyone" Etc etc etc.

Remember middle school? When "your mom" jokes were at their peak? Never before or after did this popular jab enjoy such prevalence (unless you’re in your 20’s and they’re still your primary go-to gag, which messes up my story, and in which case I pity your sorry, sorry existence). Well readers, let me tell you this: I’ve always been against the grain, a rule-breaker at the gates of dawn. And in eighth grade I decided to introduce a gag which would have an earth-shattering effect on the run-of-the-mill "your mom" joke.

I realized I had to shake shit up, rock the boat, and change the very foundations that the standard "your mom" gag was built on. The decision to change things up was probably wise, since my previous forays into wielding this term of abuse had backfired. The most notable failure came during a math class as a sprightly 14-year-old. I had courageously migrated from the loser part of class into enemy territory, where the cooler, harder kids sat, pretending to work but actually drawing penises on their chairs. (That’s just what the cool kids did back then.) I made my little journey, perhaps to borrow (or return) an item of stationary from a fellow classmate, and I was inches away from completing this treacherous journey when Sayer, one of the cool, hard kids (perhaps THE coolest, hardest kid in the room, but not the school) decided to put me in my place.

"Hey Bellinger!"

Uh, oh.

"Y..yes, Sayer?" I inquired.

And then it came.

"Your mom."

Ouch. It was, in reality, a fairly bog-standard insult, but when delivered by the coolest kid in the room, it was a pretty significant indicator of my placement on the class social ladder.

He wasn’t finished: "I porked her."

Your Mom: Rated "E" for EveryoneIt was a hammer blow. I struggled for a response. I was the only man (well, boy) standing in the classroom. A couple of disinterested gazes vaguely fell on me, a few others were too busy drawing cocks on their chairs to notice me, and a handful of blazer-wearing geeks were actually attempting some simple arithmetic.

"Yeah," I responded, "well, your mom…. I shot her."

As soon as I allowed this "insult" to spill out into the world, laughing manically as it sprinted towards the exit, I knew it was an incredibly lame comeback. Sayer looked at me in disgust, offended by just how poor my response had been. He hadn’t really expected better from Bellinger, but he also didn’t expect something quite so mind-numbingly awful. I could see him mentally making the decision to never bother to "banter" with Bellinger ever again. He would save his next "your mom" joke for someone worthwhile, and rightly so.

It was at this point that I realized I had to shake shit up, rock the boat, and change the very foundations that the standard "your mom" gag was built on.

That evening it hit me. "YES! It’s genius!" I thought. "No one has ever done that before!"

I swaggered into school the next morning ready for anything.

"Your mom!" shouted one hooded hoodlum.

"Yeah, well… your grandma!" I shot back.

Shock.

Silence.

Applause?

Perhaps, I don’t remember.

All I know is that I was an anarchist who had just dumped an entire genre on its head.

Pretty soon I was dishing it out rather than using it simply as a retort. This went on for a while and pretty soon I became the coolest, hardest kid in the class, maybe even the school. Ask anyone you know and they will vouch for it.

But I should have realized this gag had an expiry date looming on the horizon. Since we were all around 14 years old at the time, most grandmothers were still alive and this legendary gag crash-landed into the school (sending shockwaves still felt there even today). But before the joke could really get out of the blocks, the grandmas started dropping like flies. Suddenly the joke was inappropriate and my much-hyped secret weapon was rendered useless. It was back to loser status for me, but at least I was a loser who had tasted greatness, however brief it might have been.

Regrets?

Well, I wish that during elementary school the "your mom" insult had been the weapon of choice rather than the standard "you smell." Then I could have done what I always do (grow disillusioned with the status quo and subvert the whole structure of the establishment) by introducing the "your grandma" gag right then and there on a class of shell-shocked 4-year-olds. It would have been a certain knockout. My classmates would have shit themselves (literally, probably). And of course, being just 4 years old, I would have gotten a lot more mileage out of the gag.

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