by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.
conundrum n. 
    1. A riddle in which a fanciful question is answered by a pun. 
    2. A problem admitting of no satisfactory solution.
Why did they put a fence around the graveyard?
  Because people are dying to get in.
The verbal exchange set forth above, in my book, isn't really a pun at all but merely taking hyperbole literally.  Worn-out hyperbole, in this case.  So banal as not qualified for grade-school snickering.  Not all puns are to be despised, though.

It is habitual pun-makers I have trouble liking -- those inveterate bores, of which I seem to meet at least one per decade.  They cultivate an obnoxious practice: glomming onto a juicy thought you have just expressed about battling some insoluble problem, say -- interrupting to do so and therefore adding insult to injury -- then smirking and blurting an irrelevancy of the form, "I guess you could say that's like banging the conundrum slowly."  I have a record of throwing punsters out of my house.  You may confirm that with any of my most recent ex-wives.

People like that deserve to be punished (no pun intended).  No wonder puns are widely regarded as the lowest form of wit.  Wit, not humor.  The word came from a Latin expression meaning pricked hole.  Even so, once in a while, an exquisite groaner comes along, applies multiple malapropisms, and knocks me out...

Visitors to a zoo complained about the dolphins, which engaged in reproductive activities during matinees.  The zookeeper tried spraying them with cold water, to no avail.  Throwing fish into their tank only acted as an aphrodisiac.  He hit upon an idea and ran to the aviary, from which he obtained a couple of seagulls.  The zookeeper knew that the lions would be snoozing and took a shortcut through their den back to the dolphin tank.  He threw in the seagulls and the dolphins were distracted at once.  The zookeeper was happy until the police arrested him.  What was the charge?
Transporting gulls across sedate lions for immoral porpoises.
The nineties have just passed and I know this decade's punster is lurking somewhere out there, waiting to pounce.  One thing for sure, there's no pun based on conundrum that I want to hear.

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