Humpty Dumpty and a Poet's Dilemma
By Dennis Domrzalski
A few more laughs. Here's an excerpt from Volume One of my nutty comic novel, I Got Stinky Feet, Open Air Asylum. In the book, my Buddy Dave and I are on the greatest adventure ever in the history of ever: a crazy and wild cross-country motorcycle trip begun from frozen Chicago on the first day of winter. Our goal is to save the wicked from the pious, the rich from the poor, melt the tundra, confront sleazeballs and die a hundred times over if necessary. Along the way we meet every crazy imaginable: car-trunk brain surgeons, shoe sniffers, creative writers and deeply depressed poets.
One day we met the fairy tale egg, Humpty Dumpty. Here's the story, straight from Dave's diary of the trip:
“Day 15: On a cold, starless night somewhere in the woods, we meet a grand, great, prominent historical figure that everyone knows, and whose life, circumstances and contributions to civilization I have studied for years. I never thought we would meet figures out of history on the trip, but we have. Sitting at our campsite a little ways away from our fire is Humpty Dumpty, the oversized egg-man from the nursery rhyme.
“This is not a fake, not some person dressed up in an egg costume. It is truly Humpty Dumpty. The people who tried to put him back together did a lousy job. Pieces of his shell were crooked and all out of place and there were glue marks every where and gaps in his shell where they couldn’t fit pieces in and he looked like a puzzle put together by an infant. He carried over his shoulder a white canvass bag that contained pieces of his shell that the king’s horses and king’s men could not put back together. I felt bad for him.
“He preferred to be called Mr. Dumpty because he considered Humpty to be a stupid name, and that was the reason he was wandering around in the woods; he was hunting down ancestors from Europe and killing them out of revenge for being named Humpty Dumpty and for botching the repair job and making him look like a deformed misfit. I suggested that he change his name, an idea he rejected because, he said, it would take the fun out of his life, for if he had a name that he liked he would be happy and have nothing to complain about and would be miserable. Plus, he enjoyed roaming the countryside and hunting down people and doing away with them. He had been doing it for centuries, which hit me as a little odd, and led me to ask how he got along, what he did for a living, what kind of job he had and how he supported himself and bought food and clothes and stuff.
Mr. Dumpty was pissed
“‘Fool,’ said he, ‘I’m an egg. Eggs don’t have to eat, nor do I need a house or clothes or any of those such things. And I won’t rot because eggs are nature’s most perfect storage container. And even though I have been broken and sloppily put back together, I’ll be fine. So I don’t need a job.’
“‘There is something that’s been bugging me since I was a kid, Humpty, and that is,’ I asked him, ‘why were you on that wall? It seems kind of dumb and dangerous for an egg to sit on a stone wall?’
“‘Of course it’s dumb,’ said he, ‘But the guy who wrote the rhyme put me up there. I didn’t get up there by myself. How is an egg going to get on top of a wall? The guy who wrote me up was a poet and we all know how mixed up those types of people are.’
“‘What is a king’s horse and why did they try to put you back together? It seems their hoofs would be too large and clumsy to handle delicate egg shells.’
“‘Right again you are. Kind of senseless, isn’t it? But again, talk to the person who wrote it up. The horses were just regular old horses. It’s another senseless line by a poet. How do you think I feel about it? Although, I tell you this, I mean to take revenge on poets who put objects like me in senseless situations by writing poems that put them in dumb situations that make no sense.’
“‘Maybe there was a social message to your rhyme—perhaps for children to be cautious. Or maybe it was political satire,’ said I, ‘designed to show what idiots the king, his men and his horses were.’
“‘Could be, but why did they have to use me? And why did they have to make a fool out of me? I know better than to sit on a wall. And I know better than to walk by a bakery or the kitchen of a restaurant or by children on Easter. No, I don’t like poets.’
“I agreed with Humpty and we spent the next couple of hours making up poems about poets. One of Humpty’s favorites was this:
A Poet’s Dilemma
I stand on the bank of the fisherman’s stream
Feeling depressed and wanting to scream.
For how can I write of the large-mouthed bass
When I standing here sticking my thumb up my ass?
How can I bespeak the wonders of thee
When I’ve nailed my tongue to the trunk of a tree?
Oh what a well-read poet I’d be
If I scribbled on paper instead of my knee.
The day grows dark.
The light does pass.
I’m standing here stuffing
My head up my ass.
“We wearied ourselves to sleep with laughter, and after a morning breakfast of oatmeal (we did not eat bacon or eggs out of respect for Humpty) I made this bold proposal to my egg friend.
“‘All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put you together again, but I can and I will. They were goofs. I am a skilled, bold man who is capable of everything. I will put you back together again if you wish.’
“He did, and in a matter of minutes I had rearranged and reglued Humpty, using every piece of shell in his bag, so that he was perfect—a perfectly shaped and seamless eggshell. I, David P. Nadolski, put Humpty back together again. I have changed history.
“Humpty and I rewrote the rhyme about him to read:
..All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Botched the repair job again and again.
Humpty was sad and wandered the globe
‘Till he met a man who was daring and bold.
This man told Humpty he could fix that sad shell
And the guys in the rhyme could all go to hell.
In a matter of minutes the repairs were all done
And Humpty’s shell was a smooth, perfect one.
David Nadolski, that leader of men,
Put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Humpty rejoiced and shouted with glee:
“The greatest man ever is Dave Nadolski.”
“That is the rhyme as it reads now and forever more, and the reason it was changed.”