A buffet of treats to tickle a language lover’s palate

Having written over 60 books and thousands of articles and columns, I, your easy-tongued columnist, confess to being distressed at graphomania. Derived from Greek roots graph, “writing” and mania, “obsession,” graphomania is “an obsessive tendency to write”. I am a graphomaniac.

I also harbor an obsessive tendency to collect and create fun firecrackers about language. Here are two cute stories of children growing up in the computer age:

The kindergarten class was discussing the subject of prayer and the children seemed aware that the way one ends a prayer was with Amen. “Does anyone know what Amen means?” asked the professor.

There was a long silence. Then a little boy called out and said, “Well, I think that means, like, ‘send’.”

A group of third graders sat in a circle with their teacher. She went in turn to ask them all the questions about the animals:

“Davy, what sound does a cow make? »

“I’m fine.”

“Alice, what sound does a lamb make?” »

“I’m fine.”

“Jimmy, what noise does a cat make?” »

“It’s meowing.”

“Jennifer, what sound does a mouse make?” »

“Uh . . ., it’s ok . . . Click!”

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A principal walked into a teacher’s classroom and said she was spending too much time teaching commas because they weren’t really important for communicating content. So, the teacher asked a student to write the sentence “The principal says the teacher is wrong” on the board, and then asked the principal to put a comma after the word main and another after the word teacher.

The result, of course, was “The principal, says the teacher, is wrong.”

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What do you say to comfort a friend who is struggling with grammar? “There, their, they are.”

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It’s useful if you imagine your autocorrect to be a little gremlin inside your computer that tries hard to be helpful but is, in fact, quite drunk and prone to inconsonants and irritable vowel syndrome. Recent news! The inventor of autocorrect has passed away. His funnel will be held tomato.

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The best online password is “wrong”. Why? Because every time you enter the wrong password, your computer will remind you that “Your password is incorrect”.

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Remember to always keep your eyes on the prize, nose on the grindstone, shoulder on the wheel, hand on the bar, face into the wind, chin up, ear to the ground and foot on the pedal. . So go see your chiropractor.

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I recently attended the Van Gogh Immersive Experience at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. 300 paintings. 2 million pixels, original music — spectacular! The only downside was that I didn’t have enough Monet to buy Degas to do the van Gogh!

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Some of you may wonder how my wife handles living with a compulsive pun. Well, the other day I said to him, “Did you hear my last pun?” She replied, “I hope so!”

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Have you ever noticed that waiting line is only one q followed by a column of silent letters aligned?

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Do you feel stress these days? Simply reverse the letters in stress and eat lots of desserts.

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Almost everyone knows the riddle “Why did the chicken cross the road?” / To go to the other side.”

Variations on this pattern almost always involve changing the punchline, as in Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? / ‘Cause it was faster than going around it or “Why did the chicken cross the road?” / ‘Cause he saw Colonel Sanders coming at him with a cleaver.

Here’s the only variation I know of where the intro changes and the punchline stays intact: why did the chicken participate in the session? / To go to the other side!

Can any of you readers find another example like this?

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To attend my benefit performance at the North Coast Repertory Theater this Monday at 7:30 p.m., please call (858) 481-1055 for tickets and information.

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