I’ve been taken to task many times throughout my life for my fondness for punning. Not only do I enjoy a good, clever “groaner,” I always think myself very sharp when one just occurs to me on the spot. And most especially when I get to use it in a group.
An example? Sure!
I recall a situation in the Mediterranean port of Barcelona, Spain, when I was serving as a Liberty Boat Officer. In this exalted capacity I had to ride a shuttle boat back and forth between the USS Forrestal and “fleet landing,” transporting boatloads of gleeful sailors to shore liberty, and bringing back boatloads of drunks who usually took the opportunity of the boat ride to either pass out or lose their last meal in a puddle on the boat deck. (I was a young, junior grade lieutenant. Primary duty: pilot in an F-4 Phantom squadron. This was back in the 1970s).
High winds at sea brought rolling waves into the port and made the boat ride quite similar to a roller coaster. At one point the Shore Patrol Officer announced to the 6 assembled boat crews that if the waves got any higher he would cancel liberty for the sailors and suspend boat operations. I pronounced, “Oh, swell!” At that, although we were standing on the dock, the boat crews began throwing up.
Oh, and I just saw in the newspaper comics today a woman’s definition of being asked out “Dutch treat.” She called it “an un-funded man-date.” I’m going to be looking for an opportunity to use that one soon.
I’ve been asked (most often in a disgusted tone) if this trait was learned or innate (though what Nate might had to do with it I have no clue). After some careful thought on the subject, I have concluded that I developed this proclivity from my father.
I can remember my dad grinning in glee when he would tell me that 2:30 was “time to go to the dentist.” (“Tooth-hurt-y”)
His favorite old-timey song was “Mairzy Doats.” (Look it up if you’re too young to know about that one).
A normally taciturn gentleman, he would become animated when telling a story that involved a pun in the PUNch line. I always wanted to be just like my dad!
I think I’ve passed the trait down to at least one of my daughters. Joy thought my confusion between “weight” and “wait” was hilarious (see my post of Friday, Nov. 4). Amy, however, who takes more after her literal and logical mom, would have rolled her eyes.
Carol has advanced over the decades of our marriage from eye-rolling disgust, through stages of marginal tolerance and then resigned acceptance, to the point that she now not only appreciates a good pun (oxymoron there, to some), she will now occasionally think of one and actually SAY it!
I know, some of you are thinking, “That’s regression, not advancement.”
And Carol herself is quick to point out that the very WORD “pun” starts with “P-U,” and is likely a shortened form of the word “PUN-ishment.”
She always liked my dad, too.