Mar 26, 2008

The Shaggy Dog Story - Humor

I adore paronomasia, Feghoots, and Spoonerisms. I hope I'm not raising brows of suspicion because, in actuality, all of these terms deal with puns, storytelling, and plays on words.

A Feghoot, a sometimes long-winded method of storytelling, is also referred to as a “shaggy dog story” or a “groaner.” These stories—in the tradition of campfire yarns—generally end with puns (plays on words). The Feghoot sets up the punch line with relevant or irrelevant details and narrative, playing upon the expectations of the audience. Literally, there is a PUNch line. Many times, the ending is an elaborately tweaked cliché or saying, or it purposely ends with an anticlimax as proof of the storyteller’s skill of captivation.

Here are some examples that employ paronomasia and Feghoots:

A couple of clams were eating chocolate bars while two fish watched. "Did you see that?" one fish said, as the clams finished their treat. "They didn't offer us a single bite!"

"What did you expect?" asked the other fish, "They're two shellfish."


Two middle-aged women who were constantly on a low-fat diet were on their daily exercise stroll. They were talking about how hard it is to lose weight as one gets older. One woman complained that she was in good physical condition, but there was too much weight under her arms. The other said that no matter how much she exercised, there was too much poundage on her abdomen. It seemed like it was there to stay. Her companion agreed, saying, "It's true. The lard works in mysterious ways."

About these words...

Paronomasia: \pair-uh-noh-MAY-zhee-uh\ noun — a play on words.

Feghoot: S. Joan Popek of wrote: “Ferdinand Feghoot made his debut in the "Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" as the star of the series, "Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot" for years. Ferdinand was brought to life by Reginald Bretnor (1911-1992) under the pen name, Grendel Briarton. These short-short science fiction stories all ended with a pun. Hence, short stories ending with a PUNchline, became known as Feghoots.”

Spoonerism: Named after Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930). Spoonerisms began with social blunders such as when Rev. Spooner raised his glass to the Queen during a Royal visit and said, “To our queer old Dean.” Later, any incident of taking the first two sounds from two different words qualifies the result as a Spoonerism. Other examples of Spoonerisms would be:
  • Tease my ears (Ease my tears)
  • A lack of pies (A pack of lies)
  • It's roaring with pain (It's pouring with rain)
  • Wave the sails (Save the whales)
This next "punny" did not happen to me:

Late for work already, I was annoyed to find a strange car in my reserved parking space again. After locating a spot far away, I stormed into my office determined to have the car towed. As the morning wore on, however, my anger cooled, and I decided to give the driver another chance.

During lunchtime, I went outside and left this note on the driver's windshield: "Please don't take my parking space. If you do, and your car disappears, don't say I never towed you!"

Check out Tarzan's Tripes Forever and Other Feghoots for over 500 laughs...

Feel free to share your favorite shaggy dog stories under comments.


  1. I don't know about the other two, but I use spoonerisms all the time, without even thinking about it! My tongue just happens to work a little faster than my brain. The output is a bit confusing sometimes, even to me!

  2. Sweet one... better late than never... you really expressed yourself and I love how you put it all into words... what you said was right on!!

    I know that was a touchy subject to comment and post about... I have had some wonderful feedback and only one negative..

    Thank you for putting your thoughts down in writing for me

    I adore you because you are very REAL!!



  3. Dear Jo—

    Thanks so very much for your sweet comments. I really enjoyed your post and one negative comment is pretty good compared to all of the positive ones!

    For those who don't know what this is about, Jo posted a heartfelt post concerning the pluses and minuses of blogging. It opened up a heartfelt forum that I believe was very healthy.


  4. Just came by to say hello! That was an hilarious message you left on the car windshield, I'm sure they appreciated the humor!


  5. that was a very nice way of letting them know they should not park in your space.....A beautiful night to you....Mary

  6. Ha, Ok, thanks for clarifying that story about the windshield! DUH! I get it now! LOL! Silly me! I thought you were being clever with your perfect personal illustration! Ok, time for nighty night for me... :-)

    Happy night,


Thanks for stopping by!
♫ Karen