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Dad tells friends it isn't 'funny' to call his son an 'illiterate chump.' AITA?

Dad tells friends it isn't 'funny' to call his son an 'illiterate chump.' AITA?


"AITA for being furious over friends’ joke about my infant?"


A little over three weeks ago, a group text riffed a joke and it ended up with a friend referring to my infant as “an illiterate chump”. We are in our mid-30s, been friends since we were teenagers, all dads.

Regardless of whether the comment was a joke, I think that it was completely inappropriate. I have no problem with jokes being made about me from time to time but I feel that this went too far.

I understand that my infant cannot and should not be expected to be reading at this point in life, but it felt like an attack on my kid and their development/intelligence and furthered by a comment that it was “writing on the wall”, seemingly insinuating that they were bound to be illiterate.

I jumped in and said not to make jokes like that about someone else’s kid and that it wasn’t funny. One of the two guys involved in that riff (let’s call him Dude) apologized but the other (Man) said nothing and the two others who weren’t involved (Guy and Pal) didn’t say anything either.

This series of texts sat for a couple of days before Man kicked off a new unrelated discussion. I was peeved that he didn’t acknowledge my text and while over three weeks Dude, Man, Guy and Pal kept texting, sometimes taking little jabs at me, I remained silent.

They also hung out and didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t involving myself in hang out plans in the chat. This was taking a toll on me but luckily Dude reached out and him and I cleared the air with him acknowledging fault.

That positive experience gave me the encouragement to say in the chat that I was bothered that it had been forgotten by all but it needed to be resolved. I called Man an AH for bringing my infant child into his joke and a baby for ignoring my original text about it. I called out Guy and Pal for not saying anything or having my back.

Man, Guy and Pal all responded blaming me for "taking the joke poorly" and that they were “hurt” or “offended” that I’d consider ending our friendships over this incident.

I never said that I was considering ended our friendships and honestly I didn’t want to, so it all felt like some high grade gaslighting. I was leaving it up to their reactions and quite frankly I feel like they failed.

I even asked for explanation of how the comment about my kid was even necessary for the joke, but they offered no explanation, proving to me that it was just a jab to get under my skin.

Ultimately I feel like there was no satisfaction out of this and that they showed true colors and as furious as I was before, I’m just sad about it now. My wife is possibly more upset/angry than I am about all this but based on how my friends all responded I am left wondering AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


ETA: YTA seems like you were being overly sensitive Info: How old is your actual kid? I 100% would joke about a literal baby being illiterate. That's the joke they're a baby. Of course they can't read.


YTA and calling a freshly born infant illiterate is objectively hilarious. A chump? Even funnier. It’s a baby. An illiterate chump is a 50 year old man with an inferiority complex insult. The juxtaposition of those two things, the insult with the reality creates the joke.

Oh no, is your infant bad at gambling and reading the room? Is he the worst mobster in a gang of mobsters? A chump, a rube? It’s so funny my man, and your reaction is so sensitive that it kind of just seems like your friends are tired of you and that’s why they’re not apologizing. They don’t want to set a precedent of giving in to you.


YTA- there are jokes that are issues, this one isn't an issue. Babies are illiterate. They were not saying that this was how your baby would be forever. Now if it was about your 20 year old child that would be a different story depending on the context.

Like it could be a good joke if you were laughing about them doing something stupid like putting a spoon in the microwave. Don't be the "my child is perfect and you can never say anything that might not say that" parent.


YTA, You were in the wrong, you were rude, and then you wrote a wall of text about it.


I think YTA for dragging your other two friends who didn't say anything into it and demanding they say something in your defense, and it seems like if it genuinely bothered you then you didn't go about talking to this group of people the right way.

From the small amount of context you've given, it seems like a joke you're taking personally instead of how it was intended and this isn't something that MOST people are sensitive about. Obviously an infant can't read and is therefore illiterate. If the context made it worse you need to share the context.


YTA. That joke was "roll your eyes at a bad joke" level. To get actually angry and offended is over the top. It was at worst just a dumb joke. You are making of a mountain out of a mole hill.

Tone and context matters too and you conveniently left ALL of it out in describing the scenario in which they said it. I've made a similar joke when my nephew was a baby. Along the lines of "Look at him, just laying there. Get a JOB".

Nobody leapt down my throat for implying he was ACTUALLY dumb or lazy. You are reacting as if you kid is school age, struggling to learn, and your friends ACTUALLY bully him/you about it. That's clearly not the case here.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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