Tag Archives: puns

The Love of Puns, or punishment denied…

HK8861I knew a man once who was a pro at puns. Well, that’s not true – I’ve known three men who were pros at puns. My dad, my older brother, and another fellow, lets call him Paul. Not his real name of course, except, yeah, it is. Oh, and Mark. So four, at least.

Men all, and I can’t help but think there’s something in that. I never feel safe with them. They may burst into puns at any moment.

Each one of them is capable of stringing off puns, one after another, until I lie, writhing, on the ground, laughing and groaning and wincing with pain all at once. I remember one gruesome car trip where my brother and father riffed on puns about fish for an hour or more. I was trapped in the back seat, trying to block out the endless “I have a haddock!” “Perhaps it’s a cod coming on”, until my ears were about to rupture.

It takes brains to rig a pun. You’ve got to see parallel universes and be able to link them, you’ve got to adore word play, you’ve got to be literate and silly and not afraid of shunning.

Because shunned you will be.

Like dirty limericks or sleazy romance novels or lurid poetry, a little punning goes a long way. Remember, punning and shunning rhyme, and could probably be used in a limerick or lurid poem as such. To wit (as it were):


Click on the photo for more…

For whom life was one terrible pun

He gathered no wife

Nor friends all his life

When they saw him a-coming, they’d run.

Now, I hasten to add that I like a good pun now and again. They can add spice, lighten up an otherwise turgid conversation, and when done well, can impress others with your wit. In writing, they don’t scan, really, except on a t-shirt. It’s sort of a “you had to be there” kind of thing. However, as book titles, they are fabulous. More than once I’ve grabbed a book based on the pun in its title. This author, I rationalize, must have a wicked sense of humour. I’m rarely disappointed.

Some of the titles I’ve seen:

The Long Quiche Goodbye (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY) by Avery Ames

Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy

The Gingerbread Bump-Off: A Fresh-Baked Mystery by Livia J. Washburn

Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery) by Liz Lipperman

One Foot In The Gravy: A Nashville Katz Mystery (D… by Delia Rosen

Due or Die (A Library Lover’s Mystery) by Jenn McKinlay

The More the Terrier (A Pet Rescue Mystery) by Linda O. Johnston

Shoe Done It (An Accessories Mystery) by Grace Carroll

You Better Knot Die (A Crochet Mystery) by Betty Hechtman

Ghoul Interrupted: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie

See? Dontcha want to read these? As for me, I’ve just ordered up a huge helping of Mary Jane Maffini books from the library. I feel the need for a well-written cozy as the snowflakes continue to fall, and she’s the queen of those. (Some of the others – well – a cute title still needs some good credible writing behind it!)

A good cozy is a welcome break from the very grim (but also wonderful) more realistic mysteries, like those by the inimitable Giles Blunt, or Mark Billingham. Like meringue after steak, they are a treat on the tongue, light and frothy and totally enjoyable and you don’t feel the need to check in your closets before turning out the light.

But use those puns sparingly, please. As one gardener pointed out to another, while looking at the beans sprouting from his compost pile, “The mung is the lowest form of humus”…



My Land! as my mother would say. Suddenly all is explained….


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Witzelsucht, from the German witzeln, meaning to joke or wisecrack, and sucht meaning addiction or yearning, is a set of rare neurological symptoms characterized by the patient’s uncontrollable tendency to make puns, tell inappropriate jokes and pointless or irrelevant stories at inconvenient moments. The patient nevertheless finds these utterances intensely amusing. It is associated with small lesions of the orbitofrontal cortex.[1]

It is distinguished from pathologic laughing by virtue of congruent affective experience and expression, and an admixture of irritability and mirth. It is most commonly seen in patients withfrontal lobe disease or injury, particularly right frontal lobe tumors or trauma. Elderly people are very prone to this disorder because of the decreased mass of their gray tissue. For instance, the stereotype of the wise-cracking grandfather may have originated from this as it became a common part of every day life.

^ Mendez, M.D., Ph.D, Mario F (2005). Moria and Witzelsucht from Frontotemporal Dementia. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences.

Wow.  I can relate.  I think this is a familial disorder, having spent entire days trapped in the back seat of my dad’s car, driving somewhere, while he and my brother traded execrable puns until I cried for mercy. I have a friend who is unable to control his punning, and I fear for him, mainly because I have a fireplace in my house and thus a poker.

I’ve been known to “approach others without apprehension” and to share stories inappropriately with complete strangers. I touch strangers. I laugh at things immoderately.

I suppose this may all have something to do with those little lesions in my head thanks to MS – or maybe it’s damage caused by being raised on a steady diet of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers and Benny Hill and Laugh-In. Obviously there are some strange linkages in my head that have been reinforced – much like learning a new language, where practice makes perfect.

The case report is scary.  And here I thought I was just being friendly:

“A 57-year-old right-handed female had a 2-year personality change described as increased gregariousness, excitement, and a tendency to indiscriminately approach strangers without apprehension. She had become the life of the party and would laugh, joke, and sing all the time. The patient had decreased self-care and hygiene and wore the same clothes every day. In addition, she had developed a compulsive tendency, particularly with hoarding of money, and an addiction to ice cream with marked weight gain.”

Of course, I have no evidence of hoarding of money. That just isn’t happening.

But I work at home and have been known to dress similarly day after day. And I love ice cream…

There’s hope for me yet.  I haven’t started to pun. Please, stop me before it is too late……;-)

And how I wish I’d named my puppy this….