I’m going to jump right in with Louis Untermeyer’s definition of the word boner with a lot more urgency than he likely felt way back in 1946, when the Treasury of Laughter was published:
A boner is a howler, a misprint, a right word in the wrong place (or vice versa), a slight error in association that turns a simple fact into a side-splitting absurdity.
There. Now that that is out of the way, I can get this out of the way as well:
So, on to the boners which were circulating in the pre-Internet days prior to 1946:
- Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.
- Magna Charta said the King was not to order taxis without the consent of Parliament.
- They gave William IV a lovely funeral. It took six men to carry the beer.
- A metaphor is a thing you shout through.
- Ibid was a famous Latin poet.
- A Senator is half horse and half man.
- Acrimony is what a man gives his divorced wife.
- Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.
- Three shots rang out. Two of the servants fell dead, the other went through his hat.
- During the Napoleonic Wars crowned heads were trembling in their shoes.
And that’s all she wrote.