Column: Wordplay reaching pundemic proportions on social media

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

Perhaps it’s due to the seriousness of the job that many journalists have a penchant for puns.

In my experience, newsroom use of what Alfred Hitchcock referred to as the highest form of literature occurs mostly behind the scenes. (Otter stories always seem to get the puns flowing.) On the odd occasion, one might make it into a headline.

Journalist, former Observer reporter and fellow punster Roger Knox shares punny funnies daily with friends on Facebook.

“Honestly, I love a bad pun. The badder the pun, the more I laugh,” said Roger. “There are some that make my eyes roll. Like “the earth’s rotation really makes my day.”

Why share on Facebook? Because Roger believes, “deep down inside, everyone loves bad puns.”

Indeed, punny posts are plentiful on Facebook. They’re like a common ground, something to share a laugh over, free of the political tripwires that tend to make dinner conversations awkward and turn social media discussions toxic.

I’ve made the mistake of trading puns on Facebook with friend and Sicamous resident Brian Thurgood. I could never keep up; he’s genetically wired for wordplay.

“I think it’s in my blood,” Brian explained. “When I was growing up, there was always lots of laughter in the house.

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“Colleen (Brian’s wife) can tell you that when we get together with my cousins in Cape Breton, the puns fly for hours at a time, each one topping the last.”

Brian says he enjoys sharing puns on Facebook because they are an easy and effective way of communicating with family and friends too far away to see regularly.

“With my east coast cousins, it’s almost like throwing a baited hook into the water – there are always a few nibbles and usually lots of bites.”

Of course, Brian also enjoys sharing puns for his own amusement, and if there’s collateral laughter, he’s fine with that.

“Whether I have come by my love of them naturally or as an acquired taste, puns certainly have groan on me.”

Thanks to Roger, Brian and the many others from whom all puns are intended, no one need groan alone.

Lachlan Labere is the editor of the Salmon Arm Observer.

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