Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm such a "pun"k

My favorite college professor, David Lee, talked about puns with affection. I remember he told his Milton class that Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia listed the pun as the lowest form of humor. As far as we English scholars were concerned that (and the fact that Funk and Wagnalls Volumes A-J were available for 10 cents to a $1.88 at the local grocery store) discredited them entirely in our eyes.

If you tend to be in the Funk and Wagnalls camp, consider this, the brillance of Shakespeare was largely his use of the pun as a literary device. For instance, the character Mercutio, from Romeo and Juliet, jokester until the end. Who didn't love the moment when on his death bed he states, "tomorrow you shall find me a grave man."

So, why puns? I woke up this morning to find this amazing article on the "Peterman's Eye" blog. Please read. There's nothing so great as waking up to something that makes you laugh tremendously hanging out in your e-mail inbox on a Friday morning. I can tell this will be a great day unequalled in jocularity.

I consider myself quite the punster on occassion- some deliberate, some accidental. Here are some highlights from my life.
My husband and I have a running joke. Occassionally, he will come into the kitchen and commences the following dialogue,
Brett: Hun, You know what I'm craving?
Me: No, What would you like?
Brett: I could really go for a nice tall Metamucil right now.

Once my sister, Miriam was visiting and witnessed the nature of our discourse.
Brett: (to Miriam) I like to think of Metamucil as a delicious orange smoothy.
Me: Only I prefer to call it an orange roughy.

Here's another great one. As I have stated in previous entries, I babysit for a living. One day my daughter, Katie, rather suddenly and inexplicably hit, Allan, one of or daily "guests" over the head with a battery. Thankfully his mother, Sarah, is a dear friend of mine.
Me: I'm sorry about the bruise on Allan's forehead. Katie, for some reason, decided to hit him with a battery of all things.
Sarah: Was it a little one like a double A or did she go in for a big one? Like a D?
Me: Oh no, she went in for a big one. She got him with a D. You might say she committed assault and battery.

Finally, and I swear this was an accident, back when I was teaching Junior English, I made my class read, Arthur Miller's, The Crucible. In The Crucible, Miller inerrupts the action of the play a few times with running editorials. In one of these, he makes the point that the puritanical rejection of sexuality and diabolism only serves to those "forbidden" topics even more curious and interesting. I was trying to figure out how to present this idea tactfully to a room full of 16 year olds.

Me: So you see, even in the time of the Puritans people were still interested in topics of sexuality even though they were forbidden. (I'm feeling like this is going pretty well so I start getting into it.) You know, sex sells! Just like in our modern world. (I should have stopped there!) I mean, look at television commercials and the images of sexulaity advertisers use. (Nope, I'm still talking- fool that I am) You know, if you show it, they will come. (Oh, dear!)

OK, so I'm no Shakespeare.


CarpElgin said...

I looked up "johnson puns," and it was Dr. Johnson (writer of the first English dictionary, the first lexicographer -- because he made up the word to describe himself, Shakespeare critic -- because of its low humor, and the dude who had his biographer following him around for 20 years.) I think he's as reliable as Funk and Wagnalls, although far more pretentious and funny.

I wish I had been there for the battery incident. Fantastic!

Laura said...

I'll confess that puns aren't my favorite, but I love your English teaching slip! I can't believe I've never heard that one before.

mom said...

I know I am your mother, but your sense of humor has always cracked me up! It's a very cleaver part of yourself.

A said...

wow, your blog is always interesting and this one just cracked me up. I love a good laugh and the battery...seriously priceless. I could picture the english class and imagine you warming up to your topic with vim and vigor and then pow, deflation. Well, the great thing about motherhood is, those slips are usually made in our own homes and no one has to know. I bet your class will always remember you fondly.

Jonathan Sexton said...

Good Morning Miss Marie,

I am the Director of Marketing for The J. Peterman Company. In my morning stroll around the internet, I stumbled upon your post, "I'm such a "pun"k". I enjoyed it immensely. I wanted to thank you for your kind words. Peterman's Eye is growing in popularity and we are very glad about that. We also enjoyed your other Peterman-esque article, "My Great Escape"... Always nice to find other J. Peterman followers.

I looked for an email address to send to, but did not discover. I hope my comment finds you.


Jonathan Sexton | Director of Marketing
The J. Peterman Company

Marie said...

You are all so kind. I guess I'll keep blogging.

mim said...

Wow!!!! You're famous!!!!

antigone_spit said...

You'd better keep blogging! I'd be terribly distraught otherwise.
Am I a terrible person for laughing too much at ""You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think."?"

Probably. But in any event, thanks for the laughs. =D

Marie said...

I like that one, too. I thought of another great one. My cousin, Hillary, attended a church dance and, apparently someone brought a friend from a foreign country as a guest. Hillary found this visitor to be a little too amorous in his advances. Later, she described her experience in the following way, "He was from Iraq so Iran." Another knee slapper!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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