A first-person article in a recent issue of Reader’s Digest caught my attention. It was about the 39th annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship held in Austin, Texas, last May.
Though I’m not ready for a world championship I do love those little plays on words that motivate folks to roll their eyes and groan.
In my first sales job in Sioux City a co-worker and I were so broke we couldn’t afford to eat lunch in a restaurant with our colleagues. Instead, we ate our “sack lunches” in the company break room and entertained ourselves with pun contests. One of us would introduce a topic and we would take turns generating puns on that topic. The last person to come up with a qualified pun on the topic was the winner.
I am about to share some of my favorite puns so if you’re not a fan of puns, please turn to another page in this newspaper. On the other hand, if you enjoy puns, stand by…
• I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off.
• She was only a whiskey maker but he loved her still.
• Yesterday I accidentally swallowed some food coloring. The doctor says I’m okay but I feel like I’ve dyed a little inside.
• Did you hear about the mathematician who was afraid of negative numbers? He’d stop at nothing to avoid them.
• About a month before he died my uncle had his back covered in lard. After that he went downhill fast.
• Having sex in an elevator is wrong on so many levels.
• I ordered 2,000 pounds of Chinese soup. It was Won Ton.
• I accidentally swallowed some Scrabble tiles this morning. My next bowel movement could spell disaster.
• Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.
• I was addicted to the hokey pokey but, thankfully, I turned myself around.
• I wasn’t originally going to get a brain transplant but then I changed my mind.
• The winner of the costume contest was the invisible man. He was invisible and his wife wasn’t much to look at either.
• RUBBERNECK: What you do to relax your wife.
• I saw an ad for burial plots and thought to myself this is the last thing I need.
• I tried to sue the airport for misplacing my luggage. I lost my case.
• England doesn’t have a kidney bank but it does have a Liverpool.
• All the toilets in New York City’s police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.
• A friend of mine is addicted to brake fluid but he claims he can stop anytime.
• A vulture boards an airplane carrying two dead raccoons. The attendant says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
• A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother called to ask how he was doing a nurse said, “No change yet.”
• Without geometry life is pointless.
• I used to work in a blanket factory but it folded.
• A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
• Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
• I couldn’t remember how to throw a boomerang but eventually it came back to me.
• I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
• Two peanuts were walking in a tough neighborhood and one of them was a salted.
• We need a 12-step group for compulsive talkers. They could call it On Anon Anon.
• Clones are people two.
• Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
• I saw a documentary on how ships are held together. Riveting!
Puns are cherished by some; despised by others. Edgar Dale wrote, “Puns are the highest form of humor.” But then Samuel Johnson countered, “The pun is the lowest form of wit.”
Comedian Fred Allen said it best: “Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.”