Enjoying an advance (uncorrected proof) book called The Pun Also Rises, by Jon Pollack. So far, I have found no errors, only a load of bad puns. Subtitle, "How the humble pun revolutionized language, changed history, and made wordplay more than some antics." The pun is like the tao, it will go where other jokes will shake their heads and keep their dignity. But the pun sinks below, and it is always lurking.
I'm not a huge punster, although if one appears, I will introduce it around. I love wordplay and wit. In 7th grade, I hated absurdity, but in the next few years, I came to love the non-sequitur, the inexplicably funny. As though my brain had gone from always wanting order, to accepting that there was none, and being tickled by that.
A dog goes to a telegram office. Telegrapher says,
"It's five words for a dollar, what is your message?"
Dog says, "Fine, it's Woof. Woof, woof, woof.
Telegrapher replies, "That's only four words. Would you like to add another woof?
Dog looks puzzled, "But... that wouldn't make any sense."
Never went in for crude humor when I was a kid, unless it was also very wittily obscure as well. Until well into adulthood, at least. Even then, mostly in context of A. the military, or B. nursing. Offering a potty break in the form of a foley catheter, or asking after how it all came out, was strictly in the form of professional inquiry. I'm also repelled by mean* humor, the various Focker movies, or pranks. Likewise simple shock jokes, where the punchline is just ugly. But then, I never laugh out of nervousness, or fear, which many people do. I don't see what's amusing about annoying others, or causing them distress. I have one test of character that I consider crucial. If someone is sleeping in public, do you A. put a blanket over them or B. tie their shoelaces together? A. people I trust, B. people I keep my guard always up around.
I used to tell jokes, and only do so rarely anymore. The older I get, the less I'm impressed with a set-up and punchline, unless it drastically subverts the form. And the fewer "jokes" I tell. I respond more to the spontaneous, the brutally raw honestly of life as tripped over. Untranslatable, inexpressible, you had to be there stuff. And I've come to adore shaggy dog stories.
At any rate, the book is good. What wordplay tells us about ourselves, our language, our history, and how we deal with ambiguity. Comes out in April. It's not a list of puns, but they are liberally sprinkled throughout.
*I still cannot explain why I do laugh at Absolutely Fabulous. Humor is not consistent.