Jest for the Pun of ItIf you’re a father I hope you enjoyed Father’s Day and were treated like a king. I tried to get our three kids — although they’re now in the twenties and hardly kids anymore — to give me the gift of laughing at all my Dad Jokes all day long. But they would not groan for it.

Puns are maliciously maligned as the lowest form of humor. That probably comes from some uptight sour puss sucking on a pickle! I am a bottom feeder. I do like to poke pun at lots of situations. I agree with humorist, Herb True, “Don’t take life too seriously. You’re never going to get out of it alive anyway.”

Here’s where our kids would jump in with a warning about my Dad Jokes. When Chris, Jenn and Vanessa were teenagers and dating, they’d warn new boyfriends or girlfriends not to laugh at my wisecracks. Our youngest, Vanessa, has threatened her boyfriend, Andy, many times not to laugh because it encourages more. Despite being kicked under the table, he sometimes breaks into a small grin.

In my workshops and retreats I often kid about kidding and pledge to go easy on the Dad Jokes. You can watch a two minute example of this in front of a large audience at Getting Started With Humor and Dad Jokes. After one session, a participant — a fellow Dad-Joker — e-mailed me,

“We have three children as well. They, too, groan at ‘Dad Jokes.’ In fact, a couple of years ago they and my wife implemented a house rule of only allowing me two Dad Jokes a night! Great stuff … keep it coming … and don’t give up the Dad jokes.”

He clearly isn’t on a humor-reduced diet.

So, I was delighted to read a Fortune article about the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships. As described in Punny Business: When Words Collide contestants are invited to “come pun, come all.” The article features past contest winner, John Pollack, who wrote a book, The Pun Also Rises, about his experience. The contest is “jest for a wordy cause” and awards “Punniest of Show.” This is clearly where wit happens. Some contestants are also winners of a PunSlingers competition. They must come swaggering in from the wild jest with their puns on their lips!

The Fortune article concludes that, “Life is like business. That’s why they call it buyology.” If we do take business — or life — too seriously, it can scare the wit out of us.

Well, as the frog ruminated while sitting on his lily pad; time’s fun when you’re having flies. I hope I’ve tickled your punny bone just a little. After all, seven days without humor make one weak.