Monday Metaphors: Puns Take off

Puns and take offs crack me up. They’re everywhere. It seems that we’re hardwired to make the associations of pictures or words or sounds or whatever that lead right into the take off. Comics who do the funny papers are especially adept at puns and take offs, and they do it in the most succinct manner and often simply visually. This is why my newspaper is all cut up.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hi and Lois. Cell phone rings. Boy one: Another message from Maggie? Second boy: She sends them all day; she’s my “tweet-heart.”

Mother Goose and Grim. Two vampires sitting in a bar. One says: I’ll meet you tonight at high moon.

Pickles. Kid: Where are you going, Grampa? Grampa: I’m going on a jabberwalky. Kid: what’s a jabberwalky? Last frame: Grampa has to listen to Gramma jabbering endlessly.

Frank and Ernest. Frank and Ernest are snorkeling and come upon a sign: “Welcome to Atlan tis”   Lying on the ocean floor is a letter “N”.  Frank says, “Look, Ernie! It’s the lost consonant of Atlantis!”

Message on t-shirt: Dijon Vu; the same mustard as before

Another t-shirt: Relish Today. Ketchup Tomorrow.

Cosmetics commercial:  “See spots run.”

Can you hear Meow? A takeoff on the commercial: Can you hear me now?

Gator Raid = a picture on the wall of a restaurant in Gainesville, FL, of the Gator football team whomping another team.

For swine flu you need oinkment. For bird flu you need tweetment.

Jessica, my granddaughter, and I were talking about the magazine Scientific American. I asked her if she knew anything about “quarks.” She said, “It’s a quarky world we live in.” August 18, 2011

Book titles are good sources for puns

Lucienne Diver’s book is titled Fangtastic

Peter E. Abresch’s book is titled The Faltese Malcom

Graeme Smith’s book is titled Comedy of Terrors

Bennett W. Goodspeed wrote: The Tao Jones Averages: a Guide to Whole-Brained Investing  

In The Weaver by Kia Strand  (Ch. 11) Abigail Wordsmith says, “Good morning eager weavers.”

James Joyce’s biographer says of Ulysses: Much of the wordplay in the book stems from the use of multilingual puns. . .

I haven’t read this book by John Pollack, but I hope to some day: The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics.

This last is an exchange between two writers whom I admire:

July 8, 2011

Carolyn Howard-Johnson responded to a post on Virginia Grenier’s blog, The Writing Mama

 (the blog was about fractured fairy tales):

Virginia, I think a little wackiness helps with writers stress (it’s a little like writers’ block!). I always end my Sharing with Writers newsletter with a pun. They fit because puns are considered one of the highest forms of language and my readers are all authors–that is they–by definition–have to work with language.

Best, Carolyn

I agree with Carolyn that puns are an elevated form of language. My own story, “Gum-Fight at the Circle K Quick Stop,” is a take-off on the famous gun fight at the OK Corral.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wendy L
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 03:36:39

    There is plenty to smile about here. Thanks for that. I like to play with words too. From the Groper’s shelf in my ezine, the Groper and I try to come up with a two edged sword each month. One of my favourites was – Help! This oil spill is proving to be a very sticky situation. And after the tragic tsunami in Japan. ‘The groper gloats: “Fish is a health hazard! It’s true. I heard it on the radio waves, or was that the radioactive waves”.’ Only the most astute reader will notice both the fish and the human pov in all of the issues (issues haha = editions + topics, get it? hahaha) but that’s okay, we are having fun with words for their own sake.
    What a great topic. 🙂


  2. ccgevry
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 08:33:46

    I love puns too. I’m not the best at them, but they are fun to use. Thanks for such a neat post.


  3. Nancy Rosenthal Stewart
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 08:35:02

    This is a fun post, and I love the “eager weavers!” Your Monday Metaphors are always such a pleasure to read. Keep it up!


    • barbarabockman
      Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:28:59

      Hi Nancy,
      I thought of you when I read Wendy’s comment about the oil spill. Not that the situation was funny, but that it spawned some thinking on her part.
      I took note of Kai’s “eager weavers” when I read her book.


  4. Margaret Fieland
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 09:22:31

    Barbara, fun post.

    I still remember one from National Music Camp when I was a camper there(now many!! years ago):
    “They’re playing Les Preludes today, said Franz listlessly (lisztlessly)”


    I need to have more coffee before Ican think of any more.


    • barbarabockman
      Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:33:46

      Hi Margaret/Peggy,
      It’s wonderful how expressions like this stay with us. I think that is one of the reasons we have nmemonic devices (or maybe it’s the result)–you get my drift. I think your pun is now stuck in my head.
      I’m glad you visited today.


  5. Janet Ann Collins
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 09:57:56

    For shame! Haven’t you heard that a bun is the lowest form of wheat? But, lowest form of wit or not, I must admit that I love puns.


    • barbarabockman
      Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:36:54

      A long time ago I heard it said that the pun is the lowest form of wit and I secretly rebelled against it. Now my secret has been revealed. I’m glad!! I tell you, I’m glad!


  6. Kai Strand
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 12:05:49

    When I saw your topic for today I couldn’t click fast enough. I love puns! And then to have you quote from The Weaver thrilled me. Around my house, my family toss puns around like a baseball. Sometimes we catch it (or get it) and sometimes it falls to the ground, but I admit that it makes me so proud when my kids display such cleverness with words.

    Fun post.


  7. Susan Berger
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 14:24:59

    This one’s my favorite.

    Frank and Ernest. Frank and Ernest are snorkeling and come upon a sign: “Welcome to Atlan tis” Lying on the ocean floor is a letter “N”. Frank says, “Look, Ernie! It’s the lost consonant of Atlantis!”

    I am usually an unconscious punner. I admire people like you and Kai who can do it deliberately.


  8. barbarabockman
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:43:29

    Hi Susan,
    That “lost consonant” pun is sure to get the attention of writers who enjoy grammar and spelling. And I do.
    I enjoy your Pen and Ink Blogspot.


  9. barbarabockman
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 20:45:58

    Hi Everybody,
    I’m thrilled to have some new people visit Stories a la Mode. Thanks for participating.
    I will just have to have another Punday on my Monday Metaphors.


  10. Donna McDine
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 06:47:57

    Terrific post. I’ve enjoyed it…well done! In second grade our teacher had us doing this all the time. I was much better at it then. Thanks Mrs. Brand!


  11. barbarabockman
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 10:49:13

    Hi Donna,
    I would love to know how your teacher taught using puns. Any hints?


  12. Rochelle Weber
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 13:29:03

    Puns are an art-form in Mensa, although we have one member who slings so many of the, his nick-name is “Shut Up, Barry.” But we love him. 😉


  13. J. Aday Kennedy
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 16:37:19

    Barbara, Congratulations on your blog’s popularity.


    • barbarabockman
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 20:26:06

      Hi J. Aday
      I guess people are drawn to puns. At least we “word” people are. But I think Rochelle is also an artist–so there you are. It’s everybody.
      I will have to do more puns in the future.


  14. Bill Kirk
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 21:13:25

    Hi, Barbara. From the number of comments, this post struck a resonant cord. What a lot of terrific puns and plays on words. I really like all the fun stuff you are doing with language and its oddities. Keep up the good work.

    By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. Glad you enjoyed it. Feel free to follow it if you wish.


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