Yes, I love that direction, being attentive to the innumerable potential takes on a symbol’s meaning (all dependent on the consciousness of the percipient). And thank god for that–literally a world in which, at last, anything is possible.
And there is that aspect to the puns, beneath the humor. They function similarly to symbol and metaphor, being a bridge via the ambiguity of a word to another word of the same or similar sound. And suddenly, they are in relationship. I’m recalling that the Ancient Egyptians (and not sure why that topic keeps coming up–uh, aside from me bringing it up) took puns very seriously and that when words were phonetically equivalent then one would have to be attentive to the reality of the “second” meaning, because it was invited by the sound. Not to get too far off topic.
But more on topic, I like how you word it as “protean,” inviting the whole Proteus myth which, as all mythic allusions, can speak pages in a single word. But namely, the aspect of capturing the “one” meaning of the symbol, which one can then rightfully, and only, call one’s own. It’s that versatility of the symbol to accommodate, precisely, one’s subjective disposition, that intrigues me most.