Last Sunday I went to church and lost my sole. Really.

 As I walked into a meeting room, my right foot crunched down. Because I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing, after the crunch, I proceeded to walk. Now it felt as if something huge was stuck to the bottom of my shoe. That wasn’t the case. In fact, the bottom of my shoe was leaving me behind. My heel had crumbled (nothing could heal it), and I had lost my sole – in church.

 I go to church to restore my soul, and this usually works. Music, words, prayers, and good people uplift me.

Regardless, as I entered the room, my sole had let me down.

English is not the only language that has puns. Even American Sign Language is filled with them. I’ve heard punning called the lowest form of humor, but people who love wordplay think they are punny wonderful, and in my experience, these people are relentless.

Homophones give us a laughs and headaches. If the past tense of read is read, why is the past tense of lead led and not lead? For instance, we have the expressions “get the lead out of your pants” versus, “he was led by the seat of his pants.”

As writers, when we are dancing with the muse of story and wonder, who wants to think about these things?

Other dilemmas: Facebook’s Grammarly recently asked, “If the plural of man is always called men, why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen? If I speak of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?”

 I say, “Call the editor!”

Some people are good at dancing with the muse and getting words on paper – rich, full words that feed the soul. Others of us are good at
cleaning up the homophones and weird spelling rules and questionable punctuation conventions of our language. It just might feed an editor’s soul to be called to work. It may help the authors among us, too.

 


09/29/2013 6:41pm

After testing the cognitive skills of countless clients in my 30 years as a speech pathologist, one thing we look for is humor, in any form. Humor is a higher level language skill and even puns will lead me to think the person's ability to make associations and build relationships between words is an indication of a brain that is functioning at some higher level than those who give a blank stare.

So I'd rather you lead the way to the lead paint reform, rather than me being led to the hospital for toxicity.

Oh, and sorry about your sole, but it was not as beautiful as your soul.

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09/30/2013 11:22am

As a founding member of Midland High School's "National Association of Punny Men" (I hadn't yet noticed the problem with referring to myself as a "man") I love your honoring of puns. And the need for good editors, like you (or is it yourself).

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