I never had a sense of humor growing up. Well, I did, but it was never really realized until college. As fun as high school was, college is where I met my real friends. My real friends taught me how to meet, talk to, ask out and kiss girls. They taught me how to study, how to party, and how to laugh. But most of all, they taught me that I had a sense of humor. I was educated in razor sharp wit. I was taught how to tell a funny story, how to make a good comeback and how to be witty. I got so good at having a witty comeback for everything, that when I went home for Christmas, my parents said, “Wow, college has taught you to be so mean!”
I wasn’t mean, really. I was just really sarcastic and they weren’t used to that. So I toned it down after that, but I went back to school to continue my education in Humor 202. My craft continued to get better and better. And while a good amount of time was spent with girls and dating, I started hanging out with my buddies on nights we cleverly called “Guy’s Night”.
My best friend and I would gather up whoever was available and we would wander to a girl’s apartment complex. We would just start knocking on random doors and introduce ourselves by what I would describe as “drive by punning”. Without telling them our names or asking theirs, we just started talking in puns. We would point to an object and use it in a pun like fashion. So for instance, I would see a light and say, “Would you light to play a game with us?” and then my friend would point to a ruler and say, “They might need to know that the game is about mighty Rulers.” and off we would go, trying to top each other in the pun game, while utterly confusing most of them.
Some girls were fascinated and let us continue for a little while longer, while others dirty stared us out of house so quick, you’d think that we were in the Indy 500. Regardless, it was a fun and fairly innocent way to meet girls and we even made a few friends from the experience. It also taught us to think quickly on our feet and made us stretch ourselves a little in the comedy department.
I know people think of puns as the lowest common denominator of comedy. And for the most part they are right. But I’ve always thought of puns as the highest form of comedy. It allowed me to grow and stretch and think lightly on my feet. They taught me that it was okay to fail. If one group of girls thought we were from another planet, the next group might think we were hilarious. And in fact, puns are the real indicator for me if someone has a good sense of humor. If they don’t mind them, or think they are funny, they certainly are down for other forms of humor. If they thought puns were sophomoric, that told me that I probably wasn’t a good match with them humorically (a word I made up just now). Besides, I was a freshman, so it was okay to act a little older (sophomoronically. Another word I just made up.)
Puns are just what they rhyme with. Fun. They are harmless and if done right can enhance and bring real jokes to an even higher level. The best part of puns is the cheesier the better. My goal when doing a pun is not a laugh, but a groan. The worse the groan, the better the pun.
Puns can teach us about other people. Does this person think on their feet? Can they come up with rhymes quickly? Are they good at verbal volleyball? If they can master puns, you can bet that they can master other forms of comedy. And who doesn’t need just a little humor after a long day? A way to relieve a little tension in an argument? A way to lighten up a workplace just a little more? To this day, I still make my family and friends groan a little with some bad puns, whenever the mood needs to be lightened.
In a world where there is famine, and disease, pestilence and plague, it’s always nice to know that there is a form of humor that has probably been around since the caveman days and just about anyone gets and anyone can do with a little practice. So get out there people. Follow your dreams. Fight the power. Be who you want to be. But don’t forget to have a pun time too.
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