This I Believe: I Believe Life Should Be "Pun"derful

Mar 24, 2011

One morning, I called the local barbershop to make an appointment. Unfortunately, the barber was all booked up for the day. 

"Well, this is a hairy situation," I said to my girlfriend as I hung up the phone. She replied, "They certainly left you stranded." 

Call me a pundit, a glutton for punishment, or just a "pun"derful guy…I believe in puns. 

You want to spice up any conversation, here's some sage advice. Have a little fun with it. That's why it's called a “play on words” after all. 

The earliest punning experience I can remember started during a conversation about corn…with my Pop. We walked into the kitchen as my mom was boiling some corn on the cob. My dad started the stalk talk. 

"This is going to be some great corn. Believe me, I have an ear for these things." 
"That's a-maize-ing," I responded. 
"OK, this is getting corny," he said. 
"Aw, shucks," I replied. 
"We butter stop." 
"Aye Aye, colonel." 

After standing in silence, eyes rolled toward the ceiling throughout our back-and-forth, my Mom finally cobbled together something to say, "Wow, you guys are a couple of corn flakes." 

Some think puns are easy. They're not. Puns involve timing, creativity, wit, and guts. You're pitching a brand of joke that is almost universally lambasted and often misunderstood. Comedians talk about knowing their audience. With puns, it's a crapshoot. 

I think puns get a bad rep. Some people have never grown to enjoy them—instead they just groan. They roll their eyes at such lowbrow humor. Instead of focusing on the brilliance of puns, they lash out with a sarcastic laugh or tell you to put a lid on it. 

As a writer and editor, I work with words every day. With puns, ordinary words can become renowned—or reverbed. It makes me happy to inject some creativity into sentences that need a little excitement. 

When someone says something that could be pun-worthy, my wheels start spinning. Sometimes they fall flat, but sometimes they go around and around until I get tired. 

Recently over dinner with friends, one of them told me about her boyfriend's new job at the airport. The puns took off from there: 

"How did he land that job?" 
"He must really be winging it." 
"Does he work for peanuts?" 
"He always had an air about him." 
"He must work non-stop." 
"I bet he has a lot of baggage." 

The puns flew in circles, until we crashed in laughter. We had red-eyes we were laughing so hard. After all, these were first-class puns. We made a grounded conversation take flight. 

It's plain and simple; puns are a unique form of comedy. They’re something everyone can be a part of, and they bring humor to everyday life. 

In any conversation, there is always a little giggle room for them. Each snicker is sweet. Every "L" is "OL." I believe if you pun…you will…guffaw.

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