Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chemistry Puns

Okay confession time. If you know me well, you might know that I'm not real quick with puns. I either take forever to understand them OR I just give up and move on. I blame it on the fact that I'm very word-oriented: when I'm talking or people are talking to me, many times I see the actual words in my head. Therefore, when someone uses a pun, all I can "see" in my brain is the word used and can't figure out the play on words. I feel dumb when I don't get the pun, but I really feel dumb if it's a science pun. My heart actually races a bit when people post science puns to my Facebook wall. How long will it take for me to get the pun? Sigh, the woes of a nerd.

I say all this so you can fully appreciate my predicament when one of my students wrote me this note on an assignment:

Dr. Nichols,
 Thanks for such a great year of chem. This has been by far my favorite class this year and I feel like its made me really BOND with my classmates. The ENERGY in the class was off the charts even though there was no NEGATIVITY involved. Your STABILITY was much needed among us RADICALS. My QUALMS about chemistry ARGON now, and to my doubts I say BARIUM. My friend Cal said he hated chemistry, but I took your powerpoints and I left CALCIUM and now he loves chemistry.

I was laughing (on the inside - I was proctoring an exam at the time) when I read the first couple of lines, but my heart started racing after that. 
Argon? What is this student trying to say? 
Barium? What? That's a chemical. Nothing more.

I think I was prouder than a student earning an A in chemistry when I finally decoded all the puns. 

To compensate for my punning inadequacies, I find excuses as to why I don't understand the puns. My favorite reason? I heard once that puns are the lowest level of humor. I must be too smart to get them.*

*Apologies to any of you punsters out there, including my handsome, funny, and smart husband.

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