Growing up, one doesn’t question why the old “why did the chicken cross the road” joke is funny. It’s a joke! Laugh, kid! The truth is, it isn’t funny. It amuses adults because they expect it to be a funny joke, and then it suckers them with an obvious, non-joke punchline.
Kids, on the other hand, just don’t get it. They laugh anyway. It’s a stock joke.
Growing up hearing other stock expressions, like “the greatest thing since sliced bread”, you never question why and how sliced bread came to be the benchmark for great things. It is pretty great, one must admit, but as a child you expect that it must have existed forever. You expect that it happened in medieval Europe, and that the magical date of invention was lost to the sands of time, enough that we can assume that sliced bread just is, and always has been.
The truth is, sliced bread was invented in Chillicothe, Missouri, on July 7, 1928. That we will all celebrate the 100 year anniversary of sliced bread in our lifetimes is a little bizarre, to my mind, being unsure whether I should express gratitude, wonderment, or general indifference. I think we should have a bread party. You can bet your ass there’ll be fairy bread, that stuff is delicious.