816 North

April 23, 2013

Did you hear the one about the missing punch line?

This week, I’m taking the bold step of launching a self-help offensive. But instead of solving your problems, I’m asking you to help solve mine.
This week, I’m taking the bold step of launching a self-help offensive. But instead of solving your

problems, I’m asking you to help solve mine.

I’ll elaborate, but first I suggest you gather all the weapons in your figurative-language arsenal. Fifteen seconds of fame beckon!

That’s because your best ideas on how to complete my linguistic puzzle will be featured in a future column in this newspaper.

You can see that I’m going out on a limb here because it’s possible

no one

will respond and I’ll have to enter the Column Writers’ Protection Program in total disgrace.

That’s where you take a new identity and inflict your invaluable insights on a new ZIP code, say Wetumka, Okla.

Of course, my other option is to simply make up suggestions as if they came from you. But there are two problems with that: First, how would creating them be any better than just solving this little language dilemma on my own, without your help?

And second, the last time I looked, the Canon of Newspaper Ethics clearly specifies we are only permitted to make things up 15 minutes before Sonic Happy Hour closes — in order to get that Coke Zero you’re craving.

So let’s get going.

For at least a year I’ve been trying to finish an incomplete joke that grew out of my love affair with word play. Here’s the first half: “I’ve got so many pet peeves that …”

Try as I have, the second half, the part where you go

ba-doom, has eluded me .

It all started with me suffering from nagging peevishness and trying to lighten my load with humor. That’s pretty much how I deal with anything related to the Big R (reality).

Here are a few of my peeves: You go into a fast food restaurant, order coffee and ask for artificial sweetener. You can’t just say “artificial sweetener” because there are three choices — pink, blue and yellow.

And the person behind the counter never likes it when you say, “You decide.”

They want you to use the actual word …

Equal, Splenda.

It’s like they’re under orders to get you to commit to one sweetener or another.

Another peeve in my menagerie is the way people, almost always women, stretch out the word “wonderful” to describe something. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with something being full of wonder, but does it have to be pronounced “WAHHNN…DER…FUL?”

Just imagining it makes me cringe.

Finally, why is it when you make a turn in traffic the driver of the car behind you or coming toward you passes by and stares?

I didn’t know I have three noses nor was I aware making a left turn is so strange.

When I started looking for that rim-shot punch line to my joke, Missouri voters were debating whether to regulate puppy mills (for example, prohibit small dogs that yip and yap from living within 500 yards of my house).

The Humane Society of the United States was the object of much suspicion at the time, which motivated “I have so many pet peeves I could be targeted by the Humane Society.”

Then there was that bit about people who hoard animals in their homes. “I have so many pet peeves my friends call me the peeve lady,” is how I pictured it, just substituting “man.”

But they all fell flat, especially the one about how people sang “How Much Is that Doggy in the Window?” whenever they saw me.

So I need your help. I’m looking for something funny and concise. Pitch in and I won’t have to make things up or miss happy hour.

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