“a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour” [VALL]
Those who frequently use puns are frequently derided by many people. Some consider puns to be the lowest form of humor. We disagree; we can find many other forms of humor that are low. (Many happen daily in our household that includes two teenage boys.)
When you consider it, a pun – also known as paronomasia, a form of word play that exploits multiple meanings of a term, or of similar-sounding words – is a high form of humor, as it requires not only an understanding of the English language, but also a quick wit when sparring with other punsters in real-time.
We've run across a number of Sherlockians who enjoy
torturing entertaining others with their puns. The sport seems to have two elements: self-satisfaction in being so deft with words, and the pain inflicted on unsuspecting and unwilling participants.
There is even a level of competition, as punsters try to one-up each others. We once entered ten puns in a contest, hoping one would win. But no pun in ten did.
Take care, as you never know where a pun may hit you (hopefully your funny bone). As you seek them out and happen to get hit in the head with a book, you'll only have your shelf to blame.
A late Baker Street Irregular, Norman Davis ("The Grosvenor Square Furniture Van") used to issue a newsletter called Pun My Word from The Pawky Humorists. You can probably find mention of it in past issues of Peter Blau's newsletter Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press (which itself is a pun).
And the astute searcher might even be able to find old copies of Davis' book Amusing, Holmes!, filled with all kinds of Sherlockian humor.
Meanwhile, the boys are yukking it up at Baker Street Elementary...
Baker Street Elementary follows the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they and their friends work through the issues of elementary school in Victorian London. An archive of all previous episodes can be viewed at www.bakerstreetelementary.org.
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