I want to open a restaurant that serves only a certain type of fish. It would be called “Wholly Mackerel”.
This joke came to me when I was somewhat the worse for wear, and survives only because I summoned all my powers of concentration to write it down. At the time I thought it was possibly the funniest thing I had ever thought. Now I understand that, when not entirely with it, I have an inordinate fondness for puns.
It reminds me of a paragraph in the front of Bill Bryson’s European travelogue, Neither Here Nor There, in which he quotes Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy. Russell in turn quotes William James.
“William James describes a man who got the experience from laughing-gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the universe, but when he came to, he had forgotten it. At last, with immense effort, he wrote down the secret before the vision had faded. When completely recovered, he rushed to see what he had written. It was ‘A smell of petroleum prevails throughout’.