Embrace the Punster!

As a writer, I’ve always loved puns, but many people hate them or consider them “the lowest form of humor.” But, as John Pollack, author of The Pun Also Rises, points out – puns occur in every language and throughout history, going back at least to Babylonian times. Another point he makes: “Puns also play a formative role in childhood development by revealing the relationship between words, sounds, context and meaning. Listen carefully, and you’ll note that the knock-knock jokes and riddles that children learn on the playground usually turn on puns. For example, what has four wheels and flies? A garbage truck.”…I also enjoy puns for demonstrating the infinite flexibility of language as well as the laughs they generate. And, in these times, anything that gives you relief from ongoing strife is worth treasuring. So, what are some of your favorite puns, literary or otherwise? My favorite literary pun has been around a long time and attributed to various people, including James Thurber. It goes like this: The French philosopher, Renes Descartes said, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think; therefore, I am.) while the Roman, Horace, wrote “Non sum qualis eram” (I am not what I was.) Since Descartes lived 17 centuries before the Roman, you can’t quote him first. Why? Because that would be putting Descartes before the Horace.” For me, well, that one was stupundous!

Leave a reply