Once upon a time, there were two heretics, named Sasson and Simcha. Sasson said to Simcha, "I'm better than you. Even Yeshaya HaNavi agrees so; he put my name first, as it says, 'They will get Sasson and Simcha' (Yeshaya 35:10)."
Simcha retorted, "You wanna bet? My name also appears first, as it says, 'The Jews had Simcha and Sasson' (Esther 8:17)."
Sasson shot back, "Well, guess what? The Jews are just going to make a messenger out of you, as it says, 'With Simcha shall they go forth' (Yeshaya 55:12)."
Simcha countered, "Oh yeah? It's still better than your fate; they're going to use you to draw water, as it says, 'You will draw water with Sasson' (Yeshaya 12:3)."
Another heretic, whose name also happens to be Sasson, said to R' Avahu, "In the future you're going to serve me water, as it says, 'You will draw water be-Sasson.'"
R' Avahu smiled and replied, "That would be the case had the passuk said 'le-Sasson,' for Sasson. But the passuk says 'be-Sasson,' with Sasson. Obviously, then, the passuk means we're going to skin you and use your skin as a water bucket."
All of this can be found in Sukkah 48b.
So... Is this just the earliest Purim Torah, or is there something serious going on here that's going right over my head?
(Yes, I'm exaggerating my translation in Purim Torah style, but those were their arguments.)