Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tom Swiftie Redux

Well, I think I finally have to admit that I am getting old. I know this goes contrary to everything I've said in the past, but I must admit, I must be aging. I haven't bought elastic pants yet (although I do already own "sensible shoes"), but I have finally embraced the pun. See, I have always HATED the pun. I think it's because my dad and his friends would constanty be lobbing puns into conversations like grenades and they would explode and everything would get really quiet, until one of us would groan. So I have been repressing this "humor" for a really long time. I'd accidentally think of a pun, but I would keep my mouth shut because I don't want to participate in "that." Puns seemed old and corny and cheesey.

So I blame Wendy for the flourishing of the pun in my heart. See, she related the pun to something very dear to my heart- grammar. I love words and grammar and doing clever things with words and grammar (finally figuring out the mythological and linguistic origins of the word "hemaphrodite" practically had me sweating with glee- sad, but true). So the Tom Swiftie filled this little void in my life (also being in grad school I suddenly have all sorts of time to "waste" because I am NOT writing my research paper). I would be drifting off to sleep and then I'd think of a Tom Swiftie. Then I'd get up and write it down because otherwise I couldn't sleep because I kept reminding myself not to forget it. Since the dam of repression of the pun has been destroyed, the puns are coming faster than I can even open my mouth. It really is quite sad.

So this week when we were reviewing adverbs in class, I decided to open the Tom Swiftie can of worms again and we had a Tom Swiftie contest. I read them some of my new material:

"Can you fix my car?" he asked mechanically.
"Change the channel," he said remotely.
"I feel like I'm missing something," the amputee said off-handedly.

And they came up with literally hundreds of them. Here are some of my favorites:

"It's my lucky cereal," he said charmingly.
"Where's my underwear?" he asked briefly.
"It's a fish," she said koily.
"It's chocolate," Babe said ruthlessly.

And the list goes on and on and on.

So have I introduced a sophisticated word play to the youth of America, or have I just turned into a corny old man? You be the judge.


Sars said...

I can totally relate to your rendering of the pun-induced awkward pre-groan silence. I, too, suffered from the fallout of DJS (Dad-Joke Syndrome). My defense is to watch what I say and never leave my words open to a pun attack. Tom Swifties are clearly a different animal, and as long as they are never used to embarrass your children do not place you in the elastic polyester pants category.

Mrs.Robinson said...

Well, let's see...

-do you still have boobs?
- are your pants belted above your belly button?
-are you driving for miles with your blinker on?

If you can honestly answer "yes" to question one and "no" to the others than you are not a corny old man and must, by default, be educating the youth of America in fun word play.