The unintended pun in everyday life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Multi-Modal Unintended Puns--The New Nemesis?

On March 10, I reported that as I was blowing my nose, without actually thinking the word "blow," I said to myself that "it blows me away"--the feeling of my head about to explode. I called that a "multi-media" pun, but I realize that a better term is probably "multi-modal." If you have a better term, let me know. But now, I'm starting to notice these non-verbal/verbal combinations a lot. And the last one was painful, in many more ways than one.

My wife, Christine, a wonderful woman, happens to be a great doctor who specializes in headaches. Click here to read about her practice. As she was injecting Botox, which helps prevent headaches, into various parts of my head and neck, our daughter Claire was discussing something with her. A little context: Christine has said that of all her patients, I probably react most negatively to the needle. I guess I have a very low tolerance to the sharp jabs.
March 26, 2011
Right as she was sticking the needle into the back of my neck, Christine said: “It's not so much the money but the time that's the pain in the neck.”

As I said, painful in more ways than one.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daily Pun # 3

I had to get this in as soon as I saw it/them. If the second one is on purpose, it's still a beautifully subtle and nicely written pun. And if it's not intended, it is the best Unintended Pun and covers the most ground, so to speak (that itself was unintended) of any unintended pun I've ever seen. It's from an AP article in Yahoo! today. Click here for the article.
March 17, 2011
Chunk of Calif. coastal highway falls into Pacific
AP: “"There is too much going down here (pun 1) to allow an extended closure," Alan Perlmutter told the newspaper. Perlmutter is a partner in the Big Sur River Inn, one of the many inns and lodges that depend on the dollars of tourists drawn to dramatic coastal vistas, where forested mountainsides plunge into blue seas (pun 2).”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Obvious Bad Puns Block Subtle Unintended Puns?

I've begun to wonder if the proliferation of very corny, very bad, very un-funny, intended puns in the headlines of many web articles makes it more difficult to perceive the more fascinating and elegant unintended puns, which, as I've pointed out many times, are all around us. That is, we get so used to the stupid puns we see that we become innoculated to subtler word play, or our brains block us from noticing what would be more enjoyable word combinations, simply to protect us from going insane from the bad word play, and the very unenjoyable word combinations that blast us way too often.

What do you think? I know that when I have on occasion alerted a friend to a pun he just unintentionally said, the response is often, "But that isn't funny." I have tried to explain that I'm not saying it's funny, only that it's interesting (not embarassing) that he happened to choose those particular words. But usually the person is still unhappy and feels the butt of a joke he doesn't get. I now wonder if it's partly because of the widespread use of bad puns in the media, which make people "gun shy" about puns.

On to some recent puns:

Here is a "multi-media" pun:
March 10, 2011
I have had a cold for a while, and now my head is totally filled with unpleasant fluids. While attempting to empty my head of some of this stuff, I was thinking that my head felt like it was going to explode, and I said to myself that the feeling was like: “ blows me away.”

The next one was spoken during announcments at our church.
March 6, 2011
We have a small mercy/outreach effort, in which we collect non-perishable food items and bottled water from the congregation, put these things into plastic bags, and then ask folks to give them to those in need. We are supposed to hand them out from our cars and say something like, "This is to show God's love for you." The ministry is known as "Meals in Wheels." The announcer was explaining about a time he did it when he could tell the recipient was surprised by the gesture, and started thinking about it.
He said: “The person took the bag, looked at the contents, and you could see the wheels turning.”

Please post your comments and puns. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Don't Need to Rely on My Collection...

I'm discovering that I don't need to rely on my collection of Unintended Puns, most of which are on 3 x 5 index cards, to be able keep this blog filled with puns. Between Claire and me, it seems that the two of us can keep this blog populated with new ones forever, just based on our own experiences. She posted one in the Comments section after the last post, called me with another one yesterday, and I have two new ones today--one that I heard in a conversation, and one I received in an e-mail. We would love it if you would give us yours, to spice up the blog a little, and give us some variety.

As Claire mentioned in her other comment to my last post, our verbal fluency probably contributes to our noticing puns, and therefore our perception that Unintended Puns are rampant. But the objective reality of them is not diminished just because somebody doesn't notice them--if a tree falls, and there are no ears to hear, there are still sound waves generated. So the brain is doing the same, amazing, behind-the-scenes work, even if nobody notices.

On to the puns:

Here is a multi-lingual pun, based on the German word "spiel" meaning "game":
March 1, 2011
While describing that a fellow student may or may not want to engage in a complicated, time consuming task, Claire finished an e-mail with: “If you're still game after that spiel, e-mail me back.”
The next one was spoken by a pastor friend of mine. He is doing some great work in South Phoenix, showing the love of Jesus to people in great need.
March 3, 2011
Pastor Dave was telling me about his daughter, who is finishing her training to become a fully certified air traffic controller; about his dad, who was a pilot in the military; and despite all that, he himself never became a pilot. “ was never on my radar screen.”
The last one for today could be on purpose, but it seems very unlikely. It's from a review of a book about the economic crisis in Iceland. Click here for the article.
March 3, 2011
Deep Freeze: Iceland's Economic Collapse by Philipp Bagus and David Howden: “Iceland in 2008 experienced an unprecedented economic meltdown...”