y: Secret Yets
(22 June 1997)
A "secret yet" is a short phrase or riddle involving a pun, in which the punning word has been replaced by a synonym (and is therefore no longer a pun). They're funny in an odd sort of waythey seem completely mundane, or incomprehensible, until you realize that they used to be puns, that they're sort of puns gone awry. Here are some examples. Click the hyperlinked phrase to see the original pun for each.
- Where he made his liquor is a secret yet.
- Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? It's got great food, but there's no air. (I once tried to tell this joke without fully remembering it. I said, "Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? There's no air there!" The line "There's no air there!" has become a sort of catch-phrase among those who were present at the time, vaguely signifying a joke that hasn't really worked quite right.)
- What did the Zen student say to the hot-dog vendor? Give me one with everything. (Which inevitably reminds me of another pun: "Quoth the master to the confused metaphysics student, 'That was Zen. This is Tao.'" I first heard that from David Friedland but I don't know its origin.)
- The printing press in the basement was how he earned his money.
- Two hunters went to the woods, but they saw a sign that said "Turn left," so they went home.
- Nixon bumps into Ford in a hallway and says, "Excuse me." Ford says, "I already did."
- Why did the [insert ethnic slur] bring a ladder to the bar? He heard the drinks were on the roof.
- What did the Latino firefighter name his two sons? Hose 1 and Hose 2.
- Make like a banana and leave. (Mikala Woodward mentioned this one when she told me the one about the restaurant on the moon. I've also heard "Make like a tree and get out of here," but that doesn't have the elegance of combining two pun-phrases while leaving out the puns.)
I'll print the best secret yets I receive on the reader comments and addenda page.
Jed Hartman <email@example.com>