We used to call them “groaners.” I’m not sure who “we” are, but “we” must be pretty old. Be that as it may, according to Merriam-Webster (which for those young readers – under 30 – is a big book called a “dictionary”) a groaner is “a person who groans”. Oh, and also, it’s a “stale or corny joke, observation or story.” So if you put the two official definitions together, a groaner is basically a dumb joke that causes a person to groan. And in my experience at being a happily chronic groaner, most groaners start out as punishing puns.
And so we dedicate this space today to the lowly pun. Such as: What do you call a gossip? Someone with a great sense of rumor. (Groan.) Or how about this lovely lame play on words: What did the flight attendant say to the two vultures who boarded the plane each carrying two dead raccoons? Sorry, only one carrion allowed per passenger. (Double groan.)
Next time you need a cat groaner: Why did the little cat join the Red Cross? Because she wanted to be a First-Aid kit. Maybe you’re in the mood for a silly dentist joke (and who isn’t?) Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused his dentist’s Novocain during a root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.
And what about the guy who had a photographic memory that never developed. Or the poor dude who got his whole left side cut off? It’s OK, he’s all right now. I’d tell you a chemistry joke but I probably wouldn’t get a reaction. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger, then it hit me. A friend of mine was trying to annoy me with a bunch a bird puns, but then I told him toucan play at that game.
I know, it’s just one gratuitous groan after another, but I like to collect groaners. No I don’t make this stuff up – I’m not that clever. I surf the web, cut out clippings, write down stuff I hear from comedians etc. It’s amazing how a few yuks can cheer you up when you need cheering up. Some people collect stamps (for young people under 30, those are the little square sticky things you use to send snail mail), or bottles (preferably full), or coins, dolls, marbles or even rocks. Or even really weird things like belly button lint or toe nail clippings (ewwww but true). So I figure a few fat files on word play aren’t really a definitive sign of diagnosable mental derangement. So “bear” with me as I share some “grizzly” anecdotes. (OK, I made that one up – see what I mean?)
A group of chess players were standing in a hotel lobby bragging about recent tournament victories. Soon the manager had enough and kicked them out. “But why?” they asked. “Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
Are you groaning yet? Because if you aren’t, get ready for a whole tongue-twisting mouthful of punishing punishment:
Much of his life, Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot, which produced calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him frail, and with his odd diet, he often had bad breath. Guess what this made him. A “super callused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.” Congratulations if you made it through that one!
And finally, for those of you who continue to question my sanity, I wasn’t going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.
All together now: GROOOAAANNN!
Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician.