I’m a bit more awake today. Not much. In fact, not at all. The trip did not offer lavish opportunities for restful sleep, and the last leg was the worst: Daughter had to get up to catch a flight at 6:20 AM, which meant Dad had to get up and drive her there. Since AZ is two hours behind, this meant no one was tired at midnight, and went to bed late, got up early, and stumbled along in the miserable fog, unsure of anything.
But. She made it. I got some sleep. Need more. Two column day. Bleatage to be done. Good thing I can tell you the tale of the Punning Lyfter.
We took a Lyft from the airport. Not an Uber. They were in short supply, if available at all, said the driver, because they were being sued. Something about background checks and felons and the like. I can’t find specific details online, so who knows. He had a big round face, and I’ll call him Rupert Pumpkin.
Anyway. He was talking about why the rides were so expensive, and how there were many October-related festivals going on right now. Then he made a gourd-related pun. I don’t remember the exact words. But he said it as if he’d been a month on the comedy circuit honing this one, and was now showing us this rare and marvelous creation for our amazement - after which he giggled uncontrollably.
We gave him a nice rote chuckle, because he seemed like a nice guy. And he was! But then he made another pun, with the same delivery he thought was wry and surprising but was really like watching Gallagher swing a mallet at a watermelon, and again we chuckled. But I said “I have to admire your ability to be so amused by the joke you’ve probably told ten people already tonight,” because I had the feeling I could say anything and it would bounce right off. And it did.
He kept it up. One after the other. Every thing he brought up ended in a pun. He talked about having a farmer for a passenger and he was a really good farmer, I guess you could say he was outstanding in his field.
“That’s true, if he’s checking the height of the crops,” I said, “although often you don’t have to go into the corn to see how it’s doing, you can get an approximate average from observing by the side of the road, and do not have to stand out in the field. Some farmers use planes to check the crops, so they wouldn’t be in the field.”
I did this to five or six puns, grinding them into the most literal explanations possible, and he giggled more: we were doing a routine!
So what do you do when you’re not inflicting wordplay on captive strangers? I asked.
I used to inflate basketballs, but I couldn’t take the pressure.
“I understand; modern assembly lines often operate at a speed just above the threshold of a worker’s abilities.”
“Then I was a phlebotomist.”
Oh God where was this going
“I worked at a blood bank, and they said I was good at it because I had A POSITIVE attitude.”
Try a different approach, now:
“They must have appreciated your sanguine nature,” I said.
He said nothing.
“SANG,” I said loudly. “MEANING BLOOD. FRENCH WORD, LATIN ROOT.”
“Oh cool. So what do you guys do?”
“We’re a professional father-daughter comedy writing team.”
“Well, I’m professional. Although I’m having trouble coming up with material. Same with my daughter. You could say she’s . . . .”
Give him time, let him see it coming, let him leap in, prove he’s worthy . . . nothing.
“Chip off the old writer’s block,” I said.
He giggled the same way he had when he’d launched one of his own. THIS WAS AWESOME! This was why it was impossible to be too annoyed; the guy was so guileless about it all. We got four more puns while trying to find the front door of the restaurant where the memorial dinner was being held, and then got out.
“I died a little with each one,” Daughter said.
We went inside, where the dinner was concluding, and people were telling stories about Dr. DeSanto. I sat down just as the last person spoke, and my wife bade me to go up and finish it off. So I get up and walk to the open space, and I’m standing in front of a rough brick wall like a comedy club, and I say:
“I just flew in from Minneapolis . . . “
No one says it. No one said the line. I’ll bet Rupert would have shouted it out, and laughed his gourd off.
New! Now we know when they were introduced.
Well, we could’ve looked at Wikipedia, I suppose. Although Wikipedia says they were introduced in 1964, and I have this folder titled 1966, and some of the ads in it have a 1966 date. Hmm.
Who would ever want to eat one of those things raw? It’s a mouthful of dust.
This is much more ’66 than ’64.
We just don’t see as many smoking tissue boxes as we used to.
And we don’t hear a lot about Cream Bars when it comes to soap.
I remember our family tried Phase III, but I don’t think it took. Probably went back to Dial.
“Trudy has outgrown the awkward stage in more ways than one.” SHE HAS SEX NOW! Oh and she likes cars.
“Even so, she’s still not as worldly wise as she likes to appear.
“Now she’s got a schoolgirl crush on her Chevrolet dealer.”
Oh, knock it off.
Well, well: it’s a typeface that will really see a vogue in the 70s. And do you know how old it is?
Futura Black, from 1929.
Fargin’ poser. He’d call it a biscuit.
By the way:
Tiffin is a form of cake-like confection composed of crushed biscuits (most commonly digestive biscuits), sugar, syrup, raisins, cherries and cocoa powder, often covered with a layer of melted chocolate. Unlike regular cakes, Tiffin does not require baking. Instead, following preparation of the mixture, the confection is chilled until set. As a consequence the product may also be known as "fridge cake" or another similar term. It was invented in the early 1900s in Troon, Scotland.
Horrible cigarette, but a memorable ad. Many variations.
No one ever ate his hat.
What are they?
“Yes, but what are they made of?
“They’re not made of cotton.”
Wouldn’t you love to know the runner-ups in the product name development process?
||That will have to do; now, last of the Gluyas. And yet, not.