My mother had a very fat colleague she liked to stand beside, because it made her feel thin. If you could stand next to a joke, this one would make me feel like a giddy youth. What made it noteworthy was the pleasing neatness with which it dropped into the conversation, like a final piece in a jigsaw.
My friend Mary is in the middle of one of her periodic house clearances - trying to get rid of items that are cluttering up their house. Some are moderately valuable and could be sold. One such is a stuffed Barn Owl. Mary was anxious because the Barn owl is a protected species and the piece has no taxidermist’s mark. She wanted to know if any kind of license was needed to sell such a thing.
Finally, she asked:
“I just want to know if it’s illegal...”
Unbidden, came my immediate response,
“But I thought you said it was a dead owl”.
Just think: this pun has been hanging around in my head for nigh on half a century, just waiting for that moment.