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Puzzles Riddles

Writing jokes and riddles can be difficult, but it can be a great way to exercise your brain and have some fun. It can also be both systematic and creative. One of the simplest ways to start the process is to choose a word or a subject, and find a new way to make a joke about it. I'll start with "chair," but I really am doing this quickly as I write, so forgive the weak humor that is sure to result.

The systematic part is to think of all the types of chairs, even writing them down. Then write down a few types of jokes, like "puns," "misdirection," "differences," and "similarities." Then start to combine the elements of chairs, types of chairs and any other notes you made with the types of jokes.

As I am writing this, it occurs to me that an electric chair might have the most potential for humor (all serious things do). I started with that. Here is what I came up with in thirteen minutes:

Misdirection: Why didn't Charlie like the chair they gave him for his birthday? Because they gave him the electric chair!

Similarities: What does a chair have in common with my dog? Four legs and an IQ of zero.

Differences: What's the difference between a chair and a toilet? If you don't know, I can't invite you over to my house!

Pun: Why did one of the customers at the motor vehicles department start rearranging seats after waiting for hours? Because he was the "chair-man of the bored."

If you ask a comedian how he comes up with jokes, he may not have a complete answer. He will know some of the things that work for him, but much of the process may be unconscious. Using "mental algorithms" like the above is a way to do it consciously. It is also a great brain exercise.

Copyright Steve Gillman. See the page Riddles and Puzzles, and get the Brain Power Newsletter and other free gifts at: