Category Archives: Puns

Rocky Balboa and Uriah Heep Meet on Rodeo Drive

The Prompt: Write a post in which the protagonists of two different books or movies meet for the first time. How do  they react to each other? Do they get along?

I was a witness as Uriah Heep just happened to stumble upon Sylvester Stallone gazing at his reflection in the front window of a chichi little shop on Rodeo Drive.  I admit that I loitered nearby, eavesdropping. I knew this was going to be good!

Rocky Balboa and Uriah Heep Meet on Rodeo Drive

Uriah sidled closer to get an autograph,
but he was intercepted by a member of Sly’s staff.
“Please do not loiter here, sir,”  the officious flunky said.
Her expression was most haughty. Her eyes just cut him dead.

Uriah’s voice was cloying as he said, “My esteemed sir,
I’m just an ‘umble man. I didn’t want to cause a stir.
But it would be so gratifying for a worm like me
to get to touch the pants hem of a real live star like thee!”

Sylvester spun upon his heel, surveyed the quivering mess.
“It won’t hurt to please the little man one time, I guess,”
Sly thought as he bestowed a smile meant to relieve the tension,
at the same time, putting out his hand with condescension,

thinking he might kiss it, but instead that low man’s knee
was brought up to make contact with Sylvester’s fabled vee,
causing his pitch forward ’til in the street he lay.
And this is what Uriah said as he walked away:

“I may be sly and unctuous–a real pain in the ass,
but even a lowlife like me still has a little sass.
My humble’s spilling over ’til it doesn’t seem quite real,
and so I thought I’d show Stallone some of what I feel.”

How the great man is brought down to eating humble pie.
For once Uriah can look down to meet him in the eye.
As he writhed in agony, the star made not a peep.
Now Uriah is the Sly one while Stallone’s become a heap.

Note: Okay, I’m sorry. For the poem. For the sick pun. Everyone has an off day now and then.

Coffee with No Ceremony!!

daily life  color014
All dressed up for the coffee ceremony, but what is missing?

The Prompt: Dictionary, Shmictionary—Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

Coffee With No Ceremony

I lived in Addis Ababa adjoining Mexico Square.
I ate injera every day. Had cornrows in my hair.
I thought I knew it all, and though my language skills were poor,
I knew enough Amharic to get by in any store.

Seated in a circle, on low stools around a flame,
We watched Demekech fan the fire—this ritual the same
in every house and every village all throughout the land.
The thick and sludgy coffee was always ground by hand.

Boiled in a clay carafe, then set aside to brew
as in another little pot, some corn kernels she threw.
The popcorn taken from the flame, the colo nuts were next.
Except—we found that we had none, and we were sorely vexed.

The coffee jug was sealed up with a fresh-wound plug of grass
ready for the pouring, but one aspect of our mass
was missing, so I said I’d go to buy some at the souk,
lest our hospitality give reason for rebuke.

These little shops were many, lining both sides of the street;
and at each one, I knew the custom—always did I greet
the owner with proper respect, and always, he said, “Yes!”
when I asked if he had colo, but I couldn’t guess

why no one ever seemed to want to sell any to me.
Always the same reaction—first the shock and then the glee.
So, finally, I walked back home. My failure I admitted.
Departing, I had felt so smart, but now I felt half-witted.

What had I done wrong? I knew that every shop had colo.
The problem must have been that I had gone to get them solo!
Returning empty-handed, I felt I was to blame.
Coffee without colo was a pity and a shame.

But my roommate and our guests and cook were really most surprised.
I must have asked for something else than colo, they surmised.
What did I ask for? When I told them, they dissolved in laughter.
They said that I was lucky not to get what I asked after.

For colo had two meanings, depending on the stress
put on the first syllable, and I had made a mess.
Instead of nuts, they told me (and this was just between us,)
­I had asked each souk owner—if he had a penis!

(This is a true story of only one of the gaffes I became famous for in the year and a half I taught and traveled in Ethiopia in the period leading up to the revolution that deposed Haile Selassie.)

Church Thrift Store

The Prompt: It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

Church Thrift Store

Caught short by the rainy season, I should have known better.
Though I’d left home high and dry, I knew I’d soon be wetter.
Defenseless  in the downpour, I ducked into a store.
Just to get some shelter,  I rushed in through that door.

I felt that I was lucky as this store was full of stuff,
though finding what I needed might be sort of tough.
The store clerk shuffled up to me, though he could barely stand—
an umbrella just as old as him held up in his hand.

Lucky when I chanced upon this ancient wrinkled fella,
he happened to be carrying a really big umbrella!
I opened up my pocket book and located a fiver.
Now I wouldn’t spend this day wet as a scuba diver!

But when I left that thrift store with my practical new find,
I found that I was actually in the same old bind.
For opening up my parasol, I uttered “What the heck?”
As rivulets of water ran down my head and neck.

The purchase I’d just made, I found, would be no help at all.
I hadn’t noticed that the shop was St. Vincent de Paul.
The fault was no one else’s.  I know it was mine, solely.
I should have realized sooner that my purchase would be holy!

(Please note: St. Vincent de Paul is a secondhand store run by the Catholic Church.)