Ruthie plays with Joe

A recent — 10/7 — One Big Happy has Ruthie willfully misunderstanding a usage, something she does every so often, sometimes as a joke, usually to annoy her brother Joe:

(#1) Joe asks about /plen/ plane vs. plain, and Ruthie mischievously shifts to a pun on /pléɪn/ playin’.

Ruthie is known for honestly mistaking people’s word meanings and for eggcornishly reinterpreting unfamiliar expressions in terms more familiar to her, but she also enjoys delberately playing with language.

Some examples from earlier in the year:

(#2)  1/12: /koks/ coax vs. (the preposterous) Cokes — with the collaboration of the puppet Wilbur

(#3) 2/6: Ruthie plays on unscented as ‘not having a cent’, with another puppet as witness

(#4) 2/11: /fɔsǝt/ faucet vs. the rather strained force it

(#5) 3/6: Ruthie mocks Joe by treating nostril as an exotic-sounding plant name (and throwing in the drug name Benadryl as another); note the re-used artwork

(#6) 4/7: Ruthie willfully confuses use (a reference to the thesaurus and what it has in it) and mention (the word thesaurus and the words contained within in)

And then in my 3/11/19 posting “Roland B. McRiver”:


Although Ruthie’s versions of lyrics sometimes look like extended mishearings — mondegreens on steroids — this one [a burlesque of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Rolling on the River”] looks intentional (again, like the burlesques in Zippy). Ruthie seems to be deliberately baiting her brother Joe, annoying the hell out of him.

An extended study in fraternal annoyance.

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