Geek Smithology

August 3, 2005

Pun (not) intended

Filed under: Grab Bag by Nathan @ 10:12 pm

My name is Nathan Smith, and I am the cynicalman.

As I read snippets of a magazine article during the occasional lull in the mechanical bull ride that is my morning bus trip, I came upon the dreaded (by me, at least) words pun not intended. I don’t get it; there is only one instance where a pun is not intended, and that’s when the punner didn’t know it was there.

For example, your girlfriend calls you to tell you she knows you’re cheating on her just as you sit down with your deli sandwich and your friend says “That’s quite a pickle.” Pun not intended.

On the other side of the hill, you’ve got some goof writing articles for “Gardening Today”, cheerfully typing pap like “today, we’re going to dig into planting potatoes (pun not intended.)” Pun definitely intended. You can almost hear the self-congratulatory tee-hee as he proofreads his jeu sur des mots. Here’s the thing: if the pun isn’t intended, then use different words. Next time how about “today we’re going to explore the beautiful world of the potato garden” or something equally insipid. Praise to anyone who could make that exciting.

There is a worse crime. One so horrible that those who perpetrate it should forever be forced to watch nothing but House of the Dead and read nothing but Garfield for a whole year. The dreaded pun intended.

These authors are so damn clever that there is no way that I will possibly pick up on their genius without the signpost. And upon reaching it, I should dutifully reread the sentence. Maybe two or three times, just so I can fully absorb the wit. Assuming I have the perspicacity to comprehend such unparalleled lexical antics, I should chortle (perhaps even guffaw) before daring to continue. The incidence of this seems far higher in technical magazines. You can draw your own conclusions there.

On another note, I’m thinking about renaming the blog — Geek Smithology (pun not intended) has a nice ring to it…

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