That last post reminded me of how much I’ve always loved puns and word play… the worse the pun, the better. If I can make someone groan today, I’ve done my job.
When I was in high school, I was give a big book called, “Crosbie’s Dictionary of Puns.” Oh, man, it had everything, from straight definitions to limericks to pun-based jokes.
I sat near the blackboard in my Junior year English Lit class, which was taught by Mr. Williamson, the best teacher I’ve ever had. (See a brief bit on him from an earlier post here.) With his blessing, each day I would post the daily pun… stuff like this:
Innuendo: Italian word for hemorrhoid preparation.
Injudicious: How Hebrews use their spices.
Hypotenuse: “The upstairs bathroom is occupied.
Hemoglobin: Attributed to Mrs. Ferdinand Magellan, when asked, “where is your husband?”
Specimen: Italian astronauts.
Buffalo: A greeting between two nudists.
Shampoo: An imposter bear.
And so on and so forth…
The book also gave me a bunch of new jokes to tell. (Remember, this is back in the day when jokes were told; not faxed, emailed or Twittered.) Again, I loved this kind of stuff:
* There was a king of a province in India, who decreed that no one was to kill the large wild game animals any longer, for they, too, were God’s creatures. Alas, soon tigers, elephants, and other dangerous beasts overran the province, and the king was given the old “heave-ho”.
This was the first time in history that reign was called on account of game!
* There was a Count in the court of King Louis XIV, who was involved in a plot to overthrow the King. He was found out, though, arrested and thrown into the dungeon. The King, being outraged at the Count’s disloyalty, sentenced him to death. On the eve of the execution, the Count dispatched a guard to take the King a message; in exchange for his life, he would deliver the names of all his co-conspirators. Unfortunately, the guard was delayed and by the time the King could send word of a reprieve, the Count’s head was lopped off. The other conspirators eventually overthrew the King.
The lesson the King should have learned is, “Never hatchet your Count, before he chickens!”
* The curator at the Zoo had a problem with his popular dolphin exhibit. It seemed that all his dolphins ever did was have sex with each other. All day, all night, they never stopped. The Curator hit upon the idea of feeding them large amounts of gulls, their favorite food, with hopes that they would be too full and lazy to keep up their activities. As the Curator approached the tank, with an armload of gulls, he found that an old toothless, docile lion blocked his path. Not fearing the animal, he stepped over the beast, and was immediately arrested by two FBI agents.
The charge? Transporting gulls across a staid lion, for immoral porpoises.
OK, maybe this is why I had such a hard time scaring up a date for the prom. I love the groaners.
Posting the daily puns on the board led to some interesting fallout. My girlfriend’s Neanderthal brother was in an earlier "senior" class in the same room and wrote something derogatory on the board in response. It had a rhyme in it, so I wrote something snarky back, also in rhyme. The next thing you know, it was the Great Limerick War of 1978.
This was one of those thick-skulled, hyperactive dimwits that thought the height of hilarity was coming up behind me and knocking the books out of my hand. Why he decided to challenge me on MY home turf is beyond me.
I freakin’ destroyed him and everyone that took a class with Mr. Williamson got to see. I’d come in, see what he wrote, then as Mr. Williamson would start the day’s lecture on Emerson or Thoreau, I’d start noodling in my notebook and usually by the halfway point of the class, I’d have my response posted. If I didn’t have anything up by the end of the class, Mr. Williamson would say, “So, Mr. Dude, do you have a response for Mr. Neanderthal today?”
Once, I came in and saw that whatever was left for me on the board had been erased. I surmised that he called me a “fag” or something. I said, “Mr. Williamson, what happened to Neanderthal’s limerick?”
Mr. Williamson said, “I had to erase it. He was making accusations of which he could not possibly prove.”
He was cool like that. I really blossomed in that class. The next year I got onto the school newspaper and went from there. The Neanderthal eventually left school (I’m sure I had nothing to do with that.) and another girl in his class took up the “war”. That made it a much more civil affair… we didn’t actually know each other so we just ridiculed each other’s limericks.
I met her after that school year and she told me that Neanderthal had half the class helping him with his limericks. Figures.
When I was in college, I had a buddy with me that was just as bored in History of Broadcasting class as I was, so we’d collaborate on limericks about mutual acquaintances. I’d do a line, then pass to him to do a line, etc. The idea was to make it tough for the other guy to rhyme something. You had to get very creative. It was a blast and they turned out hilariously. If only I knew where they were…
Years later when I was working at a craft store, I got a better job to manage a video rental store and I actually submitted a resignation letter as a series of limericks. I asked Linda the manager if I could… she said it was fine, as long as there was no haiku. (Of course I included one, just to be a nudge.) Here is my resignation letter reproduced below, with some explanatory notes added in blue.
I was beckoned by Video World
So I’m leaving with my sails unfurled.
My readiness peaks
When I start in three weeks
And I give movie rental a whirl
One further piece of information
Is needed regarding vacation.
A week’s all I need
To get back on my feed
And recover from my celebration.
My time in this store’s been intense,
But I’ll miss all you ladies and gents.
I’ll miss all the yucks
While unloading trucks
And all of the stuff for nine cents!
Our stock came a couple times a week in large trucks, packed floor to ceiling, which we, as a team had to unload. “The nine cents” refers to our final markdown price on seasonal items we were clearing out.
Now listen to me just once, will ya?
‘Cause working for Linda can thrill ya.
But don’t screw around
Or you will be found
And then she will “just have to kill ya.”
Linda’s favorite saying… “or I’ll just have to kill ya”.
Though Lenny’s behavior may peeve us,
We still hope that he’ll never leave us.
A papa to be
With mama Daree
And a baby that must be named Beavis.
Lenny was an assistant, who with his wife Daree, was expecting their first child. As Beavis & Butthead was flourishing at that time, and Lenny was known for his imitations of the show, there was pressure regarding naming his child.
It’s Clair now, of whom I must talk
She likes to work to Classic Rock.
Male strippers she hugs
After cold beer in mugs
And hustles us all through The Walk.
Clair was captured on video at a bachelorette party locking up the male stripper in a bear hug, and not letting him go. “The Walk” refers to our final tour around the store every night, fixing and straightening.
My department has left me with no hair
But don’t let my corridors go bare.
The new guy in Promo,
Be sure he’s no… oh no…
I’m not even going to go there.
My responsibility was the Seasonal, or “Promo” aisle.
Now quickly, before I take flight,
A toast- let us raise a Bud Light!
But now it’s last call,
Merry Christmas to all
And to all I must bid a good night.