Q: Pupil of the eye as the most expansive male organ

John Mehlberg contact at IMMORTALIA.COM
Fri Jun 23 15:05:18 UTC 2006

>"Joel S. Berson" wrote:
>There is the riddle "What part of the male anatomy expands
the most
>between its smallest and its largest size?" (meaning
>percentage-wise: largest size divided by smallest). The
answer I
>heard was the pupil of the eye. Can anyone cite an earlier source?

For "the pupil of the eye" it is in _Anecdota Americana_ 1934,
pg 139:

      In a Middle-Western University, a co-ed class was having
      an oral quiz in physiology. "And now," said the professor,
      "who can tell me the only member of the human body
      which is capable of expanding to three times its normal size?"

      The class fidgeted, turned red around the ears, and looked
      modestly into its lap. "Come, come," the professor repeated
      impatiently, "someone must know. What is the only part of the
      human body which can expand to three times its normal size?
      Miss Smith, you tell us! Stand up!"

      But Miss Smith faltered, turned pale, and finally gasped out
      that she didn't know. At which the professor, furious, raised
      his voice and proclaimed, "Very well, then, I'll tell you! The
      only member of the human body capable of expanding to
      three times its normal size is the pupil of the eye. . . . And
      as for you, Miss Smith, you're nothing but an idle dreamer!"

I remember seeing "pupil of the eye" in a few other locations but can't
seem to find them.

For "bubble gum" it is also in _Anecdota Americana_ 1934,
pg 126:

    What is it that goes in hard and stiff and comes out soft and wet?
    Chewing gum.

A variant of "chewing gum" is found on pg 130 in _The "Wrecks"_.
This book dates from at at least 1935 and may be a year or two earlier.


John Mehlberg
My website: www.immortalia.com

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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