Sunday, October 30, 2005

Popular Fallacies: That the Worst Puns are the Best

British essayist Charles Lamb and I would have probably never seen eye-to-eye on this one! Had we ever met (which is unlikely in the extreme as he died 128 years before I was born) he would have immediately found that I am a great aficionado of puns. The title of this entry comes from the title of an essay he wrote in 1833. I must say, I do not agree that his statement is a fallacy. The best puns are the worst!

Among the gang of friends with whom I hang-around, Halloween is a big event. Partly because we can party and hang-out, partly because we get to dress-up, but mostly because we drink! No, just kidding. It is the socializing that is important. At least as important as the booze.

It has been my practice since moving to Colorado to wear a Visual pun to the Halloween party. Most of them have been pretty good. Here is a list of the costumes I have worn in chronological order since my stretch of puns has started.

1996 - I stuck a bunch of small boxes of cereal (the individual serving kind from the Kellogg's Snack Pack) all over myself with a plastic knife sticking into some of them (with blood dripping from the knives), bullet holes in a couple others, and a few hung from nooses.

1997 - I was at a station this year but I wore a rubber band around my head with a bit of crepe paper stretching from it to the ground.

1998 - I had a sheet that I draped over myself, eye holes had been cut-out and a black "Lone Ranger" mask was glued over the face. The word "Costume" was stencilled in black across the front and a UPC code and the words "1 Halloween Costume" were stencilled on the back.

1999 - I wore a bull's eye dart board on my front and my back.

2000 - I wore a sheet with the daily puzzle from the paper drawn on it. I carried the clues on a piece of poster board with me and let people try and solve the puzzle with a sharpie. If they asked any questions I was really surly to them.

2001 - I carried a couple lengths of cloth, a measuring tape and a but of curtain cord. When people asked what I was I said that I was still working on it. (This was fun because people gave me suggestions all night long!) half way through the party I went to a private room, wrapped one bit of the cloth around my head like a turban and the other I draped over me and tied-off with the curtain cord like a robe and announced that I had decided to be a Swami.

2002 - I wore a bunch of pictures of people named "Arthur." Art Garfunkle, Arthur Treacher (of the Fish 'n Chips Restaurants), Dr. Art Ulean, Arthur Miller, etc. All these pictures were stapled to various places all over the sheet I had draped over me.

2003 - I made large bar magnet out of foam and fabric. It was a big red box with silver ends that had "N" written on one end and "S" on the other. Glued to either end (and a couple to the middle) more-or-less at random were a bunch of little baby chickens.

2004 - I wore old, soiled, damaged clothing, carried a bundle on the end of a stick, didn't shave, had a red cape and had a big "S" in a diamond-shaped insignia on both my chest and my cape.

2005 - This year (pictured above) I chained a huge playing card (the queen of hearts) to my belt so that as I moved around it dragged behind me.

I am writing an intervening paragraph to let you think of what the puns are. I once had to write "A Pun Is The Lowest Form of Humor" a hundred times. My one hundred and first line on that assignment was ", it isn't..."

Oliver Wendell Holmes is wrote that "People who make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism." This, I think sounds more like me!

The Puns From the Above-Mentioned Costumes:

1996 - Cereal Killer

1997 - Bookmark

1998 - Generic Costume

1999 - Moving Target

2000 - I was a "Cross" Word Puzzle

2001 - The World's Worst Procrastinator

2002 - Traveling Art Collection

2003 - Chick Magnet

2004 - Supertramp

2005 - Drag Queen

I hope that you have a happy Halloween!

Don Bergquist - 30-October-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

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