Joy and I went camping this weekend. On our way home, we passed a street name sign that made me laugh out loud. I had to go back and take a photo of it … just because it made me laugh.
I still remember a pun that I first heard when we lived in Valdosta, Georgia. That was around thirteen years ago, when Glory was about seven years old. I’ve never, ever, ever been able to jokes well … no matter how funny … no matter how hard I try. AND I always botch up the punch line. It’s a travesty, truly. Yet, there is one single little joke in particular that has held a place in my memory. Maybe you’ve heard it before:
There were two fish swimming in a lake. One of them hit a brick wall.
He turned to the other fish and said, “Dam.”
As the years have passed and that entire pun from start to finish has remained in tact in my mind, I’ve come to realize that the REASON I like so much is because it is a play on words. It tugs on my wordsmith heart strings.
I still remember telling this joke to my sweet friend, Linda, who is also a lover of all things language-related. But, she was disapproving. We both had small children at the time and she didn’t understand why I would laugh at a joke that had a cuss word in it, much less tell it around or to my children.
I’m still the one who hates the “s” word and “f” words that rhyme with duck. I don’t see any reason an intelligent person would use them and will quickly give a speech if I’m given the opportunity. I don’t like the “f” word that rhymes with dart or the “p” word that rhymes with kiss. There is a short list of a few other choice words that are used commonly today that I would love to see eliminated from the English vocabulary …. but, alas, some other nasty word would replace these so I do my best to encourage others around me to rise above the common language and speak with dignity. That’s the stance I’ve chosen to take.
That having been said, this little pun still appealed to me .. and does to this day. Words serve many purposes. One thing they do is form a medium to create art. Some art is edgy. While this might not be edgy to one, it might be “too far” for another. For my friend Linda, it was too far.
Within a short period of first hearing it, James came up with his own little pun. Surely, someone else has used this same idea and come up with a quip similar, but I thought it clever that his nine or ten year old mind designed these words. Here’s his joke:
There were two horses grazing in a field. A donkey walked by and one horse said to the other, “He’s such an ass.”
As you can imagine, having two older siblings AND having been in the public school system for two full years, Joy’s been exposed to much more at eleven that my older two had been by thirteen or fourteen. When I whipped the van around to take the photo of this street sign yesterday morn, she immediately knew the joke behind my laughter and the original pun.
And I’m okay with that.
Taking this photo and sharing the joke with Joy’s friend who camped with us sprung us into a great conversation. Joy shared that there should be no ranking of words with one being bad and another being good. Words are just letters that make up sounds that represent ideas, images, people or objects. I was able to counter that, as true as that may be, I believe that God gave us an internal meter that let’s us know that some things are okay and some things aren’t. Our society promotes the idea that “It’s okay for you to have standards, just don’t force them upon me” … but that ever-shifting standard can cause problems. It was a super conversation …
that all stemmed from a silly little pun
that I learned over a decade ago
and is, to this day, the only joke I’ve ever memorized.
This little pun has made me laugh for years.
How about you? What makes you laugh this marvelous Monday morning?