Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Improving Humpty Dumpty

            My daughter is a poet.
            At two years old she can take an age-old nursery rhyme and modify it just enough to make it better. With a marvelous play on words, she easily improves on centuries of inadequate rhyming and proudly presents the new creation to her proud father. Yes, to me, it would seem that she’s got all the makings to be a world-class poet.
            Let me explain. I was trying to get some work done and Celia wanted to see someone singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
            YouTube to the rescue.
            I put the online video service on one screen as I worked on the other screen.
            Both of us sat happily at my desk – my daughter watching the videos circle through different nursery rhymes sung by cartoons, puppets, and people dressed in flamboyant costumes – me, by being productive (although admittedly a bit distracted at times).
            And then it happened. She’d just watched Humpty Dumpty, who of course sat on the wall, and who then suddenly had a great fall. The videos went silent after that, and I was so engrossed in what I was doing I didn’t realize, until I heard Celia speak out of the silence.
            “Humpty Dumpty had a great fart!”
            “What!?” I stopped what I was doing and looked into her face. Did she really just say that?
            “Humpty Dumpty had a great fart!” Celia said again proudly.
            I laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Celia grinned sheepishly and her cheeks turned rosy.
            I couldn’t believe she’d come up with that! It’s totally brilliant – it kind of rhymes with “fall”, plus it would explain why the heck he actually fell off the wall in the first place. Try it, it actually works!

            Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.
            Humpty Dumpty had a great fart.
            All the kings horses and all the kings men
            Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

            Of course they couldn’t – they couldn’t get near the guy!
            I wonder if the humor behind passing wind ever gets less funny. I remember many years ago, when I wasn’t anywhere near having kids of my own, a veteran parent with five kids in tow was passing through. One of the kids made a “fart” joke, and everyone laughed and laughed, including me.  Everyone, that is, except the mother.
            The seasoned mother looked at me and said straight-faced, “Fart jokes are always funny. You just have to say the word, and you’ll get a laugh out of them.”
            I remember nodding my head and thinking, “Boy, that sure makes sense.”
            And now, here I am with two kids of my own, and my daughter has passed her first fart joke. I suppose it’s the first of many. And perhaps I’ll be like that seasoned parent in a few more years, not laughing along with them, simply acknowledging that they’ve made yet another attempt at humor.
            That may be my situation down the road. But for now, I’m going to enjoy it. Not only do I think it shows that my daughter has the makings of a great poet, that was one funny joke.

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