My dear wife is one of those poor unfortunates to whom that most exquisite form of humor—the pun—is invisible, or nearly so. To the extent that she is aware of a pun, she reacts to it as one would a bad smell. She is in good company (or at least majority company), as I have observed this reaction in most people. I, on the other hand, produce puns without effort, joyfully, and apparently without the ability to stop.
Viewed strictly from the criterion of punly appreciation, then, our relationship would seem to be a non-starter. After all, one wants one’s loved one to like a pun when one spews one. Fortunately, we have found, if not a meeting of the minds, something that is at least a useful adaptation.
Me: [“… and no pun in ten did!” Wait proudly for reaction. Hear crickets.]
Me: Did you hear that marvelous pun?
Me: [Repeats pun.]
Me: It was a really good one.
Wife: [Smiling indulgently] Yes, dear.
Me: [Growing agitated] Possibly one of my best ever!
Wife: [Smiling empathetically] I’m glad you enjoyed it, dear.
Wife and I hug, dissipating agitation.
By the end of such an exchange, she seems to be generally enjoying herself, but what is really happening is that she enjoys my enjoyment of the pun. And that’s why I love her. Well, not the only reason why.
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