Showing posts with label Tom Swifty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Swifty. Show all posts

20 November 2011


A world renounced romantic comedy author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips runs the game in the romance genre. Phillips is one of the biggest women’s fiction stars soaring onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She’s the only four-time recipient of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award.

Pickwick and Weller
Pickwick and Weller
My editor, writer, friend Sharon has a quick eye for writing goofs and spotted the above from Pity the world renounced one of her favorite writers, who's actually a five-time recipient of RWA’s Favorite Book of the Year Award.

I've been receiving silliness and word play in my eMail, which I'll share with readers. Along with many writers, I enjoy word play, a devil's playground for an idle mind.


Once earlier, I discussed spoonerisms, but today I'll mention wellerisms, derived from Charles Dickens's first novel, The Pickwick Papers (1836-1837). Samuel Pickwick's man's man Weller was sort of a cockney Sancho Panza to his employer's Don Quixote. Sam Weller and his father Tony became known for pithy remarks and proverbs. By 1839, the popular valet had become a sensation resulting in Weller merchandise, puzzles, joke books, and even bootleg copies of his stories.

Wellerisms center around a quotation, a cliché, or sometimes a proverb, misapplied with humorous effect. Examples of wellerisms include:

  • "It comes back to me now," said the prisoner, spitting into the wind.
  • "Remarkable," said the teacher, trying out her new dry-erase board.
  • "We'll have to rehearse that," said the undertaker as the body tumbled from the coffin.
  • "So I see," said the blind carpenter as he picked up his hammer and saw.
  • "Is this a hearing?" asked the deaf juror judgmentally.
Tom Swift
Tom Swift, Jr.

The once popular adverbial Tom Swifties are a variant of wellerisms. For example:
  • "Let's dig up that body," said Tom gravely.
  • "I bet you have no diamonds, clubs, or spades," said Tom heartlessly.
  • "This tastes bad, Herb," said Tom sagely.

More Play and Burning Questions
  • What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Why do actors appear in a movie but on TV?
  • Why is 'bra' singular and 'panties' plural?
  • How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
  • Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
  • Do the alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
    • Why did you just try singing the two songs above?
  • Why do you have to 'put your two cents in', but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'? Where's that extra penny going?
  • Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?
  • How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
  • Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up like every two hours?
    • Did they cry, spit, and scream?
  • Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
  • Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
  • Why do toasters have a setting that burns toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?
  • If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?
    Sam Weller
    Sam Weller
  • If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
  • Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs.
  • If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme junk, why didn't he just buy dinner?
  • Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
  • If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?
  • If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
  • Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your bottom?
  • Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are going dead?
  • Why do banks charge a fee for insufficient funds when they know you don't have enough money?
  • Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
  • Why do they use sterilized needles for execution by lethal injection?
  • Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
  • Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
  • Whose idea was it to put 'S's in the word 'lisps'?
  • Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?
  • Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?
  • Why can't men open plastic bags in the vegetable section of grocery stores?
  • How do those dead bugs get into enclosed light fixtures?
  • Why is it whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table, you manage to knock something else over?
  • In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?
  • How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

Ingrid Bergman said, "A kiss is a lovely trick, designed by nature, to stop speech when words become superfluous." Before y'all tell me to kiss off, I'll stop speaking.