The other day I was hunched over the breakfast table so miserable, tired, and achy that I felt like I was recovering from a hangover. As I had not imbibed anything stronger than orange juice the night before, this all seemed horribly unfair. I could do little more than stare at my waffle, inhale my coffee, and hope that my head would stop throbbing. It was barely after 7 AM and I had already chalked the day up as a loss.

Ellen and Alex were at the table, too. She was eating a Fluffernutter on a toasted English muffin. He was picking at dry cereal while suspiciously eyeing the Fluff jar. Alex loves marshmallows, but there’s something about Fluff that he doesn’t quite trust. He won’t go near the stuff.

After a long, silent pause, with each of us absorbed in his and her own private thoughts (my thought being, “I hate everything!”), Alex broke the silence with a question that oozed disgust: “Where does that come from?” he asked, pointing to the Fluff.

I replied so quickly my statement surprised me.

“Fluff Monkeys,” I said.

“What?” Alex sputtered, eyes wide.

Then he said: “Noooooo. It does not. It does not.”

Then, a millisecond later: “Does it really? Really, daddy? Daddy. Daddy. Does it really?”

“It really does,” I went on, warming to the idea. “Fluff Monkeys live deep in the jungles of Borneo and explorers go there to look for them.” I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with this, so I sipped my coffee to buy some time. It turned out I didn’t really need to do this; before I finished slurping, the rest of my tale came into focus. “When the explorers see a Fluff Monkey, they poke it with a stick to annoy it.

“Well, as you know, annoyed monkeys throw their poop. And that’s good, because Fluff Monkeys poop Fluff.”

To a six-year-old, there is no better punchline to any joke than “poop.” Alex was in giggle mode.

“So they poop the Fluff and throw it at the explorers. The explorers catch the poop and collect it in wheelbarrows,” I said. “Then the explorers wheel the poop away, put it in jars, and sell it to your mother.”

Ellen feigned the dry heaves as Alex leapt from his chair. He literally fell on the floor laughing.

We had a few more laughs with the Fluff Monkey idea before we all wheezed a tired sigh and got back to eating. By then I was amazed to discover that my headache was gone.

Behold the healing power of nonsense!

So let me open up the floor: What’s the most sublime bit of nonsense you ever told a child?

18 Replies to “Fluffernonsense”

  1. My favorite fib to a child was that daddy shrunk the trees outside and turned them into broccoli… so if he didn’t eat his broccoli, all of daddy’s magic abilities would go to waste! I like the fluff as monkey poop… kids love any story with poop involved.

  2. Ummm… This would make the most hilarious children’s book. One boy’s journey into the jungles of Borneo, in search of the elusive Fluff Monkeys that poop fluff. I’m pretty sure my kids would read it. LOL

    1. It’s so funny you say that!

      I am currently adapting a similar nonsensical conversation into a picture book. The working title is “Momma No-Nose.” It’s the touching tale of a smell-challenged mom and her PlayDoh prosthesis.

  3. Love this, Mike! Dr. Seuss would be proud.

    I’ve told kids lots of nonsense in my time, but I seem to reach them too late, after they’re past the age of buying nonsense. The last time I tried it, my niece just frowned at me and said, “Uncle Dave, you’re weird.”

    1. Thanks, David! And I, too, remember the first time my niece cocked an eyebrow at one of my tales. It kind of broke my heart a little because, as we adults know, not laughing at foolishness doesn’t make you more grown up, it just makes you less fun.

      But I think she’ll come around. One day, when she’s older, wiser, and more comfortable with who she is, she will once again learn to appreciate the subtle sophistication of a killer poop joke.

  4. As much as I love marshmallow, I fear that I will never allow a jar of Fluff into my life again!!

    1. Fear not. According to the Fluff Legal Department, my remarks were not accurate. Apparently only “trace amounts” of monkey feces can be found in their product, which, I’m told, is in accordance with FDA health regulations.

      So enjoy!

  5. I’m here via Stacy Jensen and you’ve already given me lots of snickers, giggles and guffaws this AM in about 3 posts! I must jump in (it’s my civic duty) and tell you that Fluff is manufactured in Lynn, MA which is right next door to me in Lynnfield, MA (creative name huh?- we are the fields next to Lynn). At any rate, I have not toured their sweet-smelling factory but now I am going to go and see if it is filled with monkey cages inside!

    1. You, Cathy, have just made my morning!

      Thank you so much for the Fluff info! I am planning to visit your area this fall to promote my upcoming book; now I’m gonna have to see if I can get a Fluff Factory tour.

      On a related note, I am planning to turn my Fluffernonsense ramblings into a picture book manuscript. I probably will never, ever, in a million, hillion, jillion years get the thing published, but, hey, it’ll sure be fun to write.

      1. Indeed, I shall slap Ms. Anderson with a foppish glove!

        And, when I am victorious, I will celebrate by buying every resident of Lynnfield the fluffiest Fluffernutter he or she has ever tasted.

        So keep the day open.

  6. The ‘buoys’ out in the water were actually boys. When one day my oldest son asked what they were, I just looked at my ex, looked at my son and said “They are buoys. You will have to take your turn before you turn 7. Don’t worry though, Mommy will bring you a sammich at lunchtime.” Apparently that story made an impression because #1 son told #2 son that same story. Thud.

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