Word-plays don’t make us smarter. They make us sound wittier (at the risk of sounding corny). If I had a dollar for every witty comment I’ve conceived, I’d have lots of dollars.

Sadly, wit costs more than it earns. Witty people are risk-takers! Employers don’t seek out wit. Open-mindedness and willingness to receive ideas, direction, and company objectives—these are employee-possessed ideals. Wit is a characteristic that materializes after employees are comfortable and stable in their careers. Wit is a spawn of experience, intelligence, and confidence. “Nubbies” either don’t have it yet or they keep their wit under wraps.

Witty people find clever ways to express themselves. Let’s explore. There’s the “one-liner,” aka “the zinger.” This type of witticism is intended to awaken or criticize the un-witty. The intended target either gets it immediately or deciphers the insult incrementally. By the time that the full weight of the zing is felt, there’s a sense of bewilderment. It’s often too late to respond (or the response is too late to have relevance).

There’s another way for a witty person to express themselves. The “way-homer” is so clever that the target doesn’t even realize the impact until they’ve headed home. Like a time-bomb, it detonates suddenly and without warning. The target hadn’t even considered that there’s was even anything to dissect. They had no reason to ponder the meaning of the criticism because it was packaged and delivered seemingly without malice. It’s weird how our subconscious mind is at work while the rest of our mind is processing normal daily functions.

There’s the “afterthought.” Similar to the “way-homer,” the impact is not felt immediately. But thinking about it for hours afterward can be relentless. In this case, the injury is not in the insult itself, but in the delivery and the intent. This one can unleash insecurities about why it was crafted, the relationship with the person who sculpted it, or even how embarrassing it is to be targeted. It is personal.

Quite the conundrum! We can explore how words could be used as weapons, but let’s instead consider the power of words. Since the beginning of time, the energy encapsulated by articulation could enlighten. To be able to describe something with detail speaks to how evolved we’ve become. The French have numerous words that mean love. Also, the Inuit have developed various ways to represent snow. Our experiences drive the way we communicate. Like artists, our palate is as colorful as our landscape. The world around us provides the stimulation through experience, to describe, and to convey precisely how we feel.

And yet some believe that “less is more”—that “silence is as powerful;” for “the evidence of things not seen” (nor heard) produces something spiritual. Alas, it is the spirit of our words that emit emotions, translate intent, and convey definition to our thoughts. You can feel “a certain way” or you can express your feelings.

As children learn to speak, their minds are ripe for literacy. To hear, to repeat, to read, to write…all of these are manifestations of a developing mind. With practice, developing minds craft new ways to understand the world and master the use of communication; wit grows.

And true wit can manipulate words, deconstruct them, and build upon them. To be witty is to be innovate. There’s a responsibility that comes with this talent. Some call it charisma. Others channel this charm in other creative ways. The world around us is looming with examples.

Word-plays are what makes donuts on Sunday holy. Word-plays make the teachers of creatures preachers; the need to lamas the llamas ; or the opportunity to dance the salsa while eating salsa.

The punchlines and the rhetorical questions riddle us and ignite our imagination. Philosophical and practical, our inquiries become problematic and pragmatic. It doesn’t even matter because our responses matter less, couldn’t matter more, and are empty of matter meaning that they are matter-less.

If you understood this, you are either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid. I suppose its not the latter. I’d be some sort of jerk to even imply. But what kind of jerk would I be? Hopefully, no jerk at all. But time will tell.