Since it was my birthday just a few days ago, in the spirit of “it’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want to,” today I am going to talk to you about puns. (Cue cringing.)
Don’t cringe! I love puns. I have always been inextricably drawn to people whose sense of humor revolves around puns. I say it’s inexplicable, because I define myself as a lover of finely crafted literature. To steal a phrase from Courtney, I want to wrap myself in like a blanket. I want to be submerged in carefully constructed prose that has been honed, that has a delicate shimmer when inspected closely. Yet, I still find myself seeking out these makers-of-puns, which is arguably on the opposite end of the fine literature spectrum.
Puns often become the scapegoat, sometimes considered the basest forms of humor and wordplay, but they are also some of the first ways in which we interact with language, testing out the boundaries of words, playing with meanings, both primary and secondary.
Ones of my earliest poems (cue second round of cringing) was for a school project on Tale of Two Cities. In it, the narrator references walking through bloody streets and that “they could not shake the blood from their soles.”* Although I will probably be abashed that I shared some early teen-angst-pun-poetry with you once I publish this blog, my point is this: that was one of the first thrills I ever got from writing. It was my glimpse into manipulating words, understanding that I could test them, flex them, bend them in a basic way.
Once I understood that I could uniquely alter words simply by crafting the context surrounding them, well, I might say that’s when I became a writer. I fell in love with the art of words. But, as much as I appreciate the mastery of the English language, I don’t think I can ever stop a smile from crossing my face when someone makes that most basic, playful tweak to the meaning of words.
And now, without further ado, some classic puns:
I did a theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.
Why did the bicycle have difficulty standing up? Because it was two-tired.
I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.
Lightning sometimes shocks people because it just doesn't know how to conduct itself.
I was arrested after my therapist suggested I take something for my kleptomania.
A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was a nurse said 'No change yet'.
A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."
Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."
Did I miss any?
*If you are laughing at me, I will call your mother, attain your teen angst poetry, and post it online for the world to see.
Caryn Wille is an elusive hermit who sometimes emerges to do freelance design, marketing, and writing. Some of these rare gems have been candidly captured, and can be seen online at Caryn Wille Designs.