Eats, Shoots and Leaves

I published a rant on grammar in This is True recently, which led to a bunch of people asking me if I had heard this joke -- or heard of the best-selling book that resulted from it. Oh yes, indeed both. First, the joke:

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

"Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage.

The panda pauses on his way out, produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual, and tosses it over his shoulder.

"Well, I'm a panda," he says at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation:

"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

- - -

The joke led to a book by Lynne Truss with the title -- yes! -- Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It not only discusses proper comma usage (and I sincerely hope you did understand that proper comma usage is the point of this joke!), its rant on apostrophes alone is worth the price of the book.

Posted February 7, 2006

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