Funny As A Turnip

A few weeks ago I noted in passing that some vegetables are funnier than others. So that got me thinking about the innate amusement value of produce.

At first I thought it might be the shape that determines the joke factor. After all, oranges are spherical and pretty boring, whereas bananas are oddly shaped and intrinsically funny. But that might be a subconscious bias on my part. Bananas come with a lot of psychological baggage as a result of their frequent misuse for purposes best left unmentioned…

Wait, why are you snickering? I was referring to the classic ‘slipping-on-a-banana-peel’ pratfall. What did you think I was talking about?

Okay, never mind; I’ll drop the fake indignation. You know me too well. But to keep this discussion pseudo-scientific, I’ll omit the phallic symbols that trigger a chortle-bias in my puerile brain. No bananas, cucumbers, or zucchini.

So let’s take turnips. Nobody in their right mind could assign a sexual connotation to a turnip. And if you’re about to inform me otherwise, please… just don’t. That’s the kind of thing no amount of brain-bleach can wipe from my mind. Not to mention it’ll make me snicker every time I go through the produce department.

I find turnips innocently funny. ‘Turnip’. It’s such a lumpish, stolid word. It’s the sumo wrestler of vegetables. Maybe it tickles my funnybone because one of my favourite sayings is ‘Strong like ox; smart like turnip’. Or maybe it’s only because other words beginning with ‘tur’ make me giggle, so turnips are funny by association.  For instance, just try saying these words out loud without cracking a smile: ‘Turkey’. ‘Turgid’. ‘Turd’.  (If you’re reading this at work, you might want to skip the ‘out loud’ part… but I dare you…)

Whatever the reason, turnips are a lot funnier than, say, lettuce.

If amusement value was influenced by shape alone, leaf lettuce should be a good candidate for some laughs. Ruffles and green colouring – it should be funny, right? (I find green funnier than red or yellow, too, but that’s a subject for another post… or possibly for incarceration and intense psychoanalysis.)

But no; lettuce isn’t funny. Maybe it’s because amusing things rarely happen while you’re eating lettuce. It’s at best a duty and at worst a punishment. I usually enjoy its crisp crunchiness and the fact that it’s good for me, but it doesn’t make me giggle. And if I want crisp and crunchy, I’d rather eat potato chips. Or if it has to be crisp, crunchy, and green, give me dill pickles. Or what the hell; dill-pickle-flavoured potato chips.

But back to my rigorous scientific analysis.

Broccoli is funny: It’s green (see, green is funny), and its resemblance to little trees is amusing. Plus, if you’re into childish humour, it stinks even when it’s fresh, and post-digestion it’s lethal if you get caught in the blast nimbus.

But just to mess up the ‘green and oddly-shaped’ theory, I also think persimmons are funny. There shouldn’t be anything intrinsically funny about a round yellow-orange fruit, but ‘persimmon’ is a giggle-worthy word in itself. When I was a kid I thought it was a made-up word; a colloquialism for a fruit that surely must have a more dignified name that the adults used. And persimmons have those little crispy-brown tutus around their stems.

Come to think of it, ‘tutu’ starts with ‘tu’…

Which fruits/veggies do you find funniest?

43 thoughts on “Funny As A Turnip

  1. I didn’t really think turnips were funny originally, Diane, until you mentioned assigning a sexual connotation to one, which brought to mind one of the ‘stars’ of a reality TV show here in the UK who’s nickname is the turnip because of the shape of his… well, y’know. It turns out I was in the completely wrong greengrocers, and his nickname is parsnip, not turnip – which gave me a chuckle!
    Brussels Sprouts always make me smile… but that could also just be the wind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brussels sprouts on the stalk. (I was so surprised the first time I saw still on the stalk. I used to think they were just baby cabbages, each growing straight from the ground, and harvested very early. Yeah, no green thumbs here.) Anyway, not only are Brussels sprouts green and stinky, but … stalk. Stalks are inherently funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can honestly say I’ve never pondered the humor of fruits and vegetables. Leave it to you, Diane, to take my mind to new places. I did get a kick out of a line on a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon tells Amy the way she eats a banana lengthwise annoys him. She responds back that her mother taught her a lady only eats a banana sideways. It is kind of weird to eat a banana out in public, I guess. Perhaps Amy’s mother has a point after all…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My “go to” veggie for weird is rutabega. It’s most often too big, too hard, too ugly, too much wax all over it and hard as heck to cut in half. If you can find them small enough they are more tender, more sweet and cook up great. But to look at them, well, they look more like they should be used as part of a foundation in home building. They just don’t have many redeeming features.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Not to mention it’s a funny word in itself. “Rutabaga: the cornerstone of your home… er, nutrition…”

      Even though I’m always careful to keep my fingers clear, there’s that moment when I’ve got all my weight behind the big knife and it finally splits the rutabaga and smacks into the cutting board… and I’m afraid to look down in case I’ve chopped off a finger and just haven’t felt the pain yet.

      Liked by 1 person

          • You: “…so I’ll need a new range, vent hood, refrigerator, sink and faucets, counter tops, cabinets, ceiling, lighting, disposal, trash compactor, back splash, flooring, and paint. Oh, and new windows, of course. And new cutting boards and knives. And a new blender. And a mixer! Oh, and don’t forget the icemaker and food processor. And, oh my gosh, I forgot new china and crystal! And silverware! And new bowls and cookware! Let’s see, yes, I think that’s all. If I find any other damage, I’ll call you back.

            Insurance adjustor: “And what caused all the damage in your kitchen?

            You: “Ballistic rutabagas.”

            Insurance agent: “Ohhhh kaaaaay…”

            Hey, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. 🙂


      • Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (or in this case, the scar on my pinky). But it was from a squish, er, a squash, which unfortunately wasn’t squishy. But that’s another funny veggie- calling squash squish.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Blueberries! When we were kids, my sister and I were picky eaters. We wouldn’t eat blueberries because, well, food isn’t supposed to be blue. So Mom made a game out of eating them – “pop it in your mouth”. Blueberries have been called”poppits” ever since, which is certainly funny.

    Liked by 1 person

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