On the surface, "Punky's Dilemma" is one of the lighter, nonsensical songs on the Bookends album. The casual, almost jazz/bubblegum feel of the music and arrangement is almost juvenile, but this is deceptive. Lyrically, part of the song is about a draft dodger and his moral "dilemma." This is neatly and innocuously set against the pleasures of breakfast food and contentment. But perhaps more important are the references to both Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, who had just been working on the (never completed) Smile album project. Specifically, the references to relationships to food are probably from the song "Vegetables." The sunny, casual, and almost comedic feel of the music and arrangement were indeed themes of the Smile project, and "Punky's Dilemma" comes across as a tribute rather than a parody.