Deb Susan Belongs in a Punitentiary

When the topic turns to humor, I must confess a deep and all-consuming love for the pun.

One of my all-time favorite games involves punning back and forth with someone else until one of us loses the ability to add a new pun to the chain or bursts out laughing. Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to have several close friends and family members who not only appreciate but enjoy this particular game.

I have a difficult time not making a pun if the opportunity presents. (My week 2 post here at the ball confirms it, as those who remember my “sea minor” joke recall.) This causes me no end of private amusement – and one very memorable socially awkward moment. (The incident involved a funeral parlor and my father’s ashes. The curious can check the comments on Deb Kerry’s Monday post – because I told the whole embarrassing story there.)

Most of the time, however, the puns are a source of harmless amusement. My family and friends have grown to expect them. My son, in particular, finds them at least as entertaining as I do, and though he groans at some of my better (or worse) attempts he’s developing a skill at punning that may someday put me to shame.

How much do puns feature into my daily life?

I recently acquired a baby abalone for my reef aquarium. It took me less than five minutes to name him Oscar.

Why Oscar?

Because … “my (a)balone has a first name…it’s O-S-C-A-R…”

(Those of you not groaning don’t know your bologna ads).

This is par for the course.

Some people think that attorneys have no sense of humor. In some cases, that’s true, but I see things a little differently. Maybe I’m just a magnet for the strange and unusually funny, or maybe I’m just few french fries short of a Happy Meal myself, but I see the world through a lens that filters heavily for humor … and most heavily of all for the humorous pun.

This translates into my writing too. My ninja detective, Hiro Hattori, doesn’t exactly approve of puns, but his dry sense of humor has more than a little crossover with my own. His friend and crime-solving partner, Father Mateo, is Portuguese, which provides some interesting opportunities for word play in between the murder scenes and “ninja moments.”

So…did you laugh or groan at the abalone? Where do you stand on puns – or on ninja detectives? Click into the comments and let me know – I’d love to hear what makes you smile!

18 Replies to “Deb Susan Belongs in a Punitentiary”

    1. That made me laugh, Amy – it’s nice to know the rest of you are just as odd as I am when it comes to seeing the world a little differently. I just know I’m going to LOVE your novel – and all the other debs’ too.

  1. Alas, I did not get the Oscar joke when it came up first, but I swear it wasn’t because I don’t get puns but because I don’t know my balognas! Pun away, Deb sister, and we will laugh with you.

    1. Sometimes puns do that to me too, Kerry. I puzzle over them, wondering what’s going on, and then all of a sudden they fly back and boomerang me in the funny bone. In fairness…you also saw it on Twitter, with no hint as to WHY I might have named an abalone Oscar. There were a couple of missing steps in the logic at that point.

      The name still makes me smile every time I see him.

    1. He’s not the only one in my fish tank to suffer this fate. Almost everything is named either for an astronomical feature (Cygnus and Ceti are named for stars/constellations, and our fire shrimp “Big Red Spot” is a reference to the feature of the same common name), a pun, or some other geekish joke. We named our staghorn hermit crab “Banzai” because he regularly climbs to the top of the reef and hurls himself off the rocks. He doesn’t seem suicidal – I think he’s mostly just looking for the fast route to the bottom – but it’s pretty funny to see.

  2. Susan, you will love one of the characters in my book. One of his signatures is making bad puns, and he does so throughout the story.

    And the Oscar story made me laugh!

    1. Sometimes it really is just as much fun to be entertained by them as to create them! I love being around people with good senses of humor. It’s fun to be in that kind of company.

      And thanks – I’m glad you liked Oscar! He’s a fun little guy to have around.

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