Answer: All of the above


Telephone calls from my friend, Arnie, fall into a category I term E-calls.

Telephone calls from my friend, Arnie, fall into a category I term E-calls.

They are informative and yet, at the same time, you would have to label them frustrating. And, although amusing, they have a way of being too time-consuming. Therefore, I refer to them as E-calls because they are "all of the above."

"The reason they call me mushroom is because I'm a fungi (fun guy.)"

Our most recent conversation fit that pattern well.

"I just called to share some more of the veterinary office terminology that we've been formulating at my clinic," he said.

I knew that I was in for another dose of Arnie's bad puns and corny one-liners. However, realizing that there was no way to stop him, I let him go on.

"My last office call was very interesting," he said. "This lady brought her cat in to see me because it was a pony. You know, a little hoarse. Get it Mike? A little hoarse? (horse)?

"I get it, Arnie," I told him. "Go ahead with your silly story."

"Well, anyway," he continued, "there wasn't much wrong with the cat, but the lady was a regular Humpty Dumpty. You know, ready to fall to pieces. And, she wanted me to run all sort of tests on the cat. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea because the last time he was here, this cat was a real Roman. That is, he Claudius (clawed us) all up. Are you with me so far, Mike?"

"I follow you, Arnie. When you call, I'm an elephant, all ears that is. But I have to tell you, one call from you and I get the Ben and Jerry syndrome. I scream (ice cream) if you get what I mean. After all, your puns are real Oscar Meyers. That is to say, they are the wurst (worst.)

"Thanks for the encouragement," he said undaunted. "I just make these things up for the fun of it. It has never been my intention to be like Rommel and get lots of tanks (thanks). But let me go on with the story. I ran a bunch of tests, but couldn't find out why the cat was listless. When I explained it to the lady, she told me that he had been this way all of his life and it was normal for him. He had never been a Gutenburg, a moveable type, that is.

"Does this story have an ending?" I asked. "Because you're getting to be more and more of a chauffeur. You're driving me crazy!"

"Relax, I'm just getting to the good part. After asking me to run all those tests, it turns out that she doesn't have any money. The bill is a hundred and ninety dollars and she hands me a Pavarotti, a tenor (tenner). But, I didn't let it bother me. Nobody is going to call me Ernest and Julio. I don't wine (whine) when things don't go my way. After all, that's why they call me mushroom."

"I get this one, Arnie," I said. "I'll bet they call you mushroom because you seem to be in the dark most of the time."

"Wrong, Mike. Care to take another guess?" he asked.

"Sure," I replied. "I don't know why I didn't think of this first. Mushroom would be a good name for you since you thrive on manure."

"Wrong again," he said. "The reason they call me mushroom is because I'm a fungi (fun guy)."

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