Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain

You’re So Pun-chy

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Some folks may not think the T-shirt proclaiming “I Put The Fun In Funeral” is humorous, but I do.

I also think puns are punny – er, funny. Good punsters are given more respect in most nations – yes, folks there are puns in other languages – than the level of appreciation witnessed here.

german sausage funny - Clip Art Library

A reason cited for this anti-pun phenomenon in the Land of the Free is our high level of competitiveness. A pun isn’t funny if you didn’t think of it first.

I mean, how funny do you think it is if I poke you in the ribs to get by and shout, “Make Hemmingway, the pun also rises.” It may not be too polite, but I think it’s hilarious.

They are among the tools that fashioned the Old Testament and much of Shakespeare’s works. So why should we snub them now? Perhaps it’s because punning requires an extensive knowledge of many topics and things. Whether you get it or not can be an indicator of how smart you are. In other words, a pun by someone else can make you look stupid.

While Shakespeare ranks at or very near the top of the list of all-time punsters, Mark Twain also was a practitioner. One of his that comes to mind readily is about some money being twice tainted: “T’aint yours and t’aint mine.”

Get it?

Vaudeville, radio and television comics, such as Groucho Marx, Henny Youngman and Fred Allen made a good living leaning on puns. It was one of them who said his wife went window shopping and came home with four windows.

Among Groucho’s renowned one-liners are “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana,” “While in Africa, one morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know,” “Why, I’d horse whip you if I had a horse,” “If you want to see a comic strip, you should see me in the shower” and “Women should be obscene and not heard.”

Puns and malaprops thrive in the same neighborhood, such as the comic pointing out that a colleague’s memory lapse was probably caused by too much Milk of Amnesia. And there’s the press agent who claimed all they had when they began making the epic Biblical movie, “Ben Hur” was “faith, hope and chariots.”

One easy one I remember from school days goes like this, “Can February March? No, but April May.” That hauled into mind the old schoolyard throwaway, “My picture wound up in jail, but it was framed.” And the laughs about the cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control her pupils.

Included among the list of don’ts in my life is to never talk about infinity because the conversation could go on forever. I also got to thinking a few years ago that it must be confusing to be a young ant because even their uncles are ants.

As we were growing up, my sister applied for a job at the post office but they wouldn’t letter because they said only mails worked there. She got a job at a calendar factory but that didn’t last long because they fired her after she took a day off.

My brother wanted to buy a boat so I told him to look under the For Sail section in the classified ads.

There was the time I ran into my friend and when I visited him in the hospital he asked me why I didn’t miss him. He said he was sleeping like a log so I told him he’d have to start looking for a fireplace.

He also had a wife who had a photographic memory. The problem was, she never developed it.

It was after a trip to Australia (honest!) that I got some mileage out of telling people I had trouble remembering how to throw a boomerang but it usually came back to me.

I’ve always thought that becoming a vegetarian would be a big misteak. And there are health nuts trying to ground me because I drink coffee.

As I get older, I avoid funerals because they all start at or about 9 a.m. and I’m not a mourning person.

I was all set to take pictures of the fog bank the other day but I mist my chances.

And waking up this morning to write this opus was an eye-opening experience

Now you readers are going to leave but be like a good clock and come on back for seconds.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 13, 2022 at 3:00 am