Only humans understand puns - make them turnip to the table

It’s a punny world out there

My recent road trip through South Carolina’s Low Country was all about food – and in some surprising ways.

In Charleston, I had a marvelous lunch at Husk, which does updated Southern cuisine like nobody else. As a side note, it’s not the kind of place where they try to “elevate” food; instead, they make the classics from the freshest ingredients they can find and pay the most attention possible to it. The result is mouth watering.

Honestly, I ate more Carolina barbeque, benne wafers and fried chicken than I cared to admit, but the trip was about food in unexpected ways as well.

Take this South of the Border billboard that I spotted in (where else?) North Carolina on 95. There was an uproar in the car when I turned around to get a photo of it, but I think it was worth it. “Sausage a place?” C’mon! That’s a golden pun right there.


bethel peas

Later that week on the way to see a Bald Cypress swamp, I saw this gem on a church sign. You might spot the sandy, almost desolate look of a mid-afternoon South Carolina summer day. I thought the sign was both clever and a tad optimistic. It was certainly too warm to grow sweet peas outside, but the sign was probably referring any of a variety of cow peas – field peas, purple hull peas, pink lady peas, crowder peas and more – that grow so well in the heat and poor soil of the South.


After seeing those two puns in the same week, Turnip punI almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted this Glory Foods billboard close to Florence, S.C. heading north on 95. It is effective advertising because I remembered the name of the company well enough to write and ask for an image after we got home. (Nope, I wasn’t driving at the time, so I couldn’t circle back for a photo.)

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of puns, but I do appreciate the intelligence that it takes to make good ones – and all three of these fall into that category. They are also three puns that I had never heard before, but that I understood immediately.

Computers, of course, don’t understand puns, though they can be programmed to spot known puns. I am an advocate text analytics by automated means, but these puns reinforce for me that the best understanding will always be from the human perspective.


Evelyn Kent
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