The unintended pun in everyday life.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chilling Out in 115 Degrees

After a long search, my son has managed to find a part-time job.

(As a brief excursus from our normal pursuit of word play, if you are interested to learn about the reasons why he and millions of others including his older college-graduate sister cannot find full-time work, read the chapter entitled "Business Cycle" in Ron Paul's book Liberty Defined. I quote from it here:
The answer involves looking not at the downturn itself, but at the structure of the preceding boom...Because artificially low interest rates cause an expansion of the money supply, these invented rates are central to understanding what causes booms...When interest rates fall below their market rate, a false signal is sent out that there are more saved funds available for lending, so naturally, everyone starts to do more business and expand production...This boom is usually worsened by government promising bailouts to banks...Simply put, if we want to cure the bust, don't create the boom."
Click here for a link to the book.
Back to my son. Unfortunately for him, the job is outside, it's heavy manual labor, it's summer, and it's Phoenix, Arizona. And he happened to start the job on a day that the high temperature hit at least 110 degrees.
June 23, 2011
In explaining this to a work colleague, I said: “The good news is that the house where he's doing the landscaping is near our house, so he can go home over lunch and chill out.”
As I caught myself, I quickly glanced at my colleague. He had not noticed what I was afraid he would take to be a lame attempt at humor.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Pun I Thought, at First Didn't Say, But Then Said Anyway

Apparently schools have begun to conduct mock hostage and/or shooting situations, so SWAT teams can practice making sure they know how to wear their armor and take control of the school and make sure they don't get hurt while they take down the suspects. In one case I read about recently, the superintendent didn't handle the experience very well, so ended up resigning due to bad publicity. He hadn't told the students, and what's worse, he had told the parents to ignore any cell phone calls or text messages from their children. Seems to me this last fact would make the whole exercise invalid--if a real situation had occurred, the parents would certainly not have ignored their children's calls.

Click here to read about this incident.

Description of this and other incidents, with a decided opinion of the practice, indicating that the superindent resigned.
June 18, 2011
In explaining this to my son, I said: “The school didn't even tell the students, which just seems ignorant. And I was about to say that the superintendent took so much flak, but that would be an unintended pun, so I'll say he got so much bad publicity, that he resigned.”
For those of you not familiar with military terms, "flak" is the junk fired from anti-aircraft artillery. SWAT team members wear "flak" jackets to protect them against injury.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Unintended Pun as Self-Entertainment

Perhaps the best part about saying and then noticing Unintended Puns is their self-entertainment value. The tricky part, of course, is to not notice them too soon, and therefore cut yourself off before you get to say (or think) them. If you do sense one coming, and cut yourself off, you risk the danger of a brain hiccup and/or unpleasant mouth distortion, either of which in the presence of others leads to embarrassment and social ostracism. Of course, if you make puns on purpose too often, as an Unintended Punster/Verbally Fluent person would tend to do, you may be familiar with the ostracism.

I have a relatively old one (date unknown--perhaps a year or two old), and a brand new one to share today.
circa 2010
I had just read from a book called The Novel 100 by Daniel S. Burt. (It discusses the novels' themes, characters, and style, and I am reading it as part of my curriculum so I can gain insight on how better to write my novel.) It was the end of the day. As I turned out the light, thinking it had been a productive day, I thought to myself: “That's another Saturday in the books.”

June 10, 2011
As my son and I were watching the NHL finals, and saw a puck go flying into the stands, my son wondered aloud why there wasn't more netting to protect the fans. I thought to myself: “Maybe they think it would look too rinky-dink.”
Both puns provide me some amusement. In the second case, I didn't tell my son what I had thought, knowing his reaction would be either a groan or something along the lines of "Really, Dad?" In the first case, I suppose you could say it was the perfect cap to my day, except I hadn't had a night cap in either the literal of figurative sense, so it doesn't work to say that in this blog. It was, however, the perfect word play--since I had just read a book about books, and indeed in the parlance of accounting, the day was in the books.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

First Sighting of "No Pun Intended" in a Novel

I am reading through a series of novels by J.R. Rain called Vampire for Hire on my Amazon Kindle. Those of you who know me are thinking "Vampire? What?" But, I'm enjoying the stories, because the main character was attacked by a vampire six years before the start of the first book, and therefore was a normal human being for thirty-one years. She is a mom who loves her kids, who works for justice, and who as the books progress, is figuring out but hasn't yet figured out just what the whole vampire thing is about. A metaphor for the changes many of us go through, but obviously on a much scarier, deeper level.

Anyway, I believe for the first time in a novel, I have run into the phrase "no pun intended" (twice no less) in American Vampire (Vampire for Hire #3) . I'm wondering if the author accidentally made the puns, then upon realizing it decided to let them stand, or intended them from the beginning. Either way, by noting that he had made the puns, I think the author wanted to make sure that we the readers noticed the puns. That is, he liked the word play, and didn't want us to miss them. More discussion below.

Click here for the book's Amazon Kindle page.
(read by me) June 2, 2011
American Vampire, Location 1910, by J.R. Rain: The narrator is the vampire, and one of her love interests is a werewolf (I'm not sure if that's what the pun is "not" intended to be.) “Private investigators seem to hold a certain allure for many people. I get that. TV has certainly made the work appear glamorous; after all, there's something exciting about being a lone wolf (no pun intended), working when you want...”

(read by me) June 2, 2011
American Vampire, Location 2075, by J.R. Rain: The narrator is explaining that she agrees that her current client correctly hired her, as well as others, to work the case. “When a customer found a human finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili, Wendy's hired over ten private eyes to break the case, which one of them finally did. The finger belonged to one of the customer's friends, a finger he had lost in an industrial accident. The friends then cooked up a scheme, no pun intended, and it might have worked if not for the tenacity of one detective, and the foresight of Wendy's to hire a slew of them.”
These aren't especially clever or deep puns, and compared to others we've quoted here at the pun forum, they'd probably be overlooked. But I note them because of the author's use of the phrase "no pun intended." I think he may have put that in there as much because the narrator is kind of a tough talker (though at times due to circumstances, we are shown a tender and soft mom/vampire), so although there is a lot of humor, maybe the author doesn't want us to think that she would think that puns are part of her humor repertoire.

I also think it's another layer of word association, as this or any author plays with words, and tries to phrase his or her thoughts in the most appropriate way for the context, that puns are going to happen, as they do in everyday conversation.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention--another reason I like these books is that I'm a sucker for stories in which the hero/ine shows a gentle/weak side, which allows the reader to relate, and learn to cope with life along with him/her. But I almost didn't mention it, since "sucker" and "vampire" practically falls out of one's mouth as a word combination, and barely qualifies as an unintended pun. But what kind of a blogger about unintended puns would I be if I didn't mention it?