Words to Entertain

Part One: Twisted Words

Words are powerful if you know how to use them. An orator employs words to persuade and motivate people. A writer uses words to bring out something that is unnoticed in life. For a dictator ruling with guns and bullets, he fears words of truth that may topple him from power.

I want to show you how to entertain people with twisted words. That is, use a well-known phrase and change one or more alphabets therein. As a result, the phrase will assume an interesting meaning that can be interpreted to make it funny and entertaining. Please see the following examples. Some are invented by myself as indicated by (Stockfessor). The rest are borrowed from the magazine, California Monthly (Nov/Dec 2002):

Buy and play; don’t buy and pray.
New stock-investing strategy to replace the conventional method of buy and pray

A consequence of climate change unrelated to the Internet

Exam result received in your e-mail.

No pain no cane
The patient reports to the doctor about his improving hip condition.

Study of Mother Nature

Rave yourself a merry Christmas
Post-punk holiday spirit

A cartridge in a pear tree
Missed that bird again!

Sad Francisco
The city plunged into depression after losing the football final.

Three Fog Nights
San Francisco weather that inspired the band Three Dog Nights.

Las Vegan
Gambling city bans meat.

Guillotine goes high tech.

New York Tomes
That newspaper just keeps getting thicker.

Tea for Tao
Break time in Chinese philosophy class

Home groan talent
Think globally, pun locally.

Bottle cry
Recycle your plastic bottles!

Ark Nouveau
New design for the next deluge

The doable helix
Special genes found in motivated people

Elms for the poor
Combine environmentalism with charity

“I did not insale.”
Martha Stewart’s response to allegation of insider trading (borrowing Bill Clinton’ phrase regarding pot smoking, “I did not inhale.”)

Doo Wok
Chinese cooks sing in harmony in the style of Doo Wop of the 1950s.

Hope you get the hang of this word game! (November 2011)

Part Two: Regional Accents

One of the beauties of language is the variety of accents spoken across the land. A different accent can easily cause misunderstanding and bring humors. Let me relate this story I read from the California Monthly magazine:

Joe Smith found a job teaching American history in a small town in the state of Arkansas. Joe had lived in California all his life. He decided to take the job although he had not seen or known much about Arkansas. Upon arrival, the first thing he did was to apply for a driver’s license at the local office of the motor vehicle department. After filling out the application, he took it to the desk of a female clerk.

She browsed through the completed form, looked up and asked:
“You’re white?”

Joe was puzzled. Why did she ask such a question? He learned from history that Arkansas was one of the seceding slave-owning states during the Civil War. The War was already over long time ago, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had outlawed all kinds of racial discrimination. Joe could not figure out her motive but gave a straight answer anyway.

The clerk looked puzzled. She checked the form again, looked up and asked again:
“You’re white?”

Joe was getting impatient. He replied:
“Yes! 100 per cent.”
At the back of his mind, Joe thought about his parents and grandparents, and could not see any mixed blood in their family.

The clerk left her seat and went to talk to her supervisor sitting at the back of the office. Joe was even more puzzled. Why do they make such a big deal about being white in a driver’s application? Are non-whites disallowed to drive in Arkansas? Are they going to call the police for suspecting him to lie about being white?

After a while, the supervisor came up and said:
“You forgot to fill in your weight in the application form. Please tell me how much you weigh.”

“Oh! She means my weight. 160 pounds.”

“Okay. Please wait over there for your picture to be taken.”

(February 2011)

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