Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exactly what did the walrus say, anyway, and why?

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
          Lewis Carroll - ("Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There")

Tra lee! Tra lay! A lovely day - for cabbages and kings!

I never was a fan of Lewis Carroll's books...can't even say I liked then - or now - the Disney versions; however, I understand that die-hard Carroll fans would drum you out of the fan club if you professed to like those treacly renditions. That being admitted on my part, I am not trying to be critical or denigrating to these well-loved and time-honored books.  It is simply a comment on my own tastes in reading and/or listening. Of course you will also have to understand that I did not grow up knowing "Winnie-the-Pooh," either.  Our parents read to us kids a lot back in the day - just not Milne and Carroll!  As a matter of fact, I had not heard of Winnie-the-Pooh until I was in my early teens - and then only because Disney got hold of them and they became the almost universal childhood icons that they are today.  Was I deprived as a child?  I think not. I had a bear friend while growing up, too.  He was created by the wonderful Maurice Sendak, and called "Little Bear."  Loved that guy...still do.  And I must say that my bear does not behave in any way, shape, or form like Winnie.  Little Bear is much smarter!  Anyway, I digress...

So, I ask:  What did the walrus say, I mean really? That it is time to "speak of many things."  Yes; however some of the choices seem rather "out there!" I can't say as shoes (although I have spoken of that haven't I?), ships, sealing wax, cabbages, or kings have ever entered any of my let's-talk-about-this conversations.  "But," you say, "he is talking nonsense on purpose!  That's how Lewis Carroll lampoons adult human conversation!"  Well of course you are right, and also, if I were about to eat something (or someone), I would probably choose to speak to that person or being about anything other than my appetite.  I would choose to "cover my scent" so to speak.  Anyone out there have a dog that does that?  Our dog Princess loves to seek out, find, and then roll (luxuriously) in any kind of small animal poop she can find, such as rabbits', squirrels', or gophers'.  And, (when she used to play around them), she would also choose to roll in a cow pie! Never having known about this propensity of hunting dogs in particular, that piece of information was a revelation to me.  Princess is a basset hound/English pointer cross. She has hunting deep in her blood, and if she catches a scent - BOOM! - she is off to the races, and master or mistress and leash be damned!  Many a sore shoulder or bruised butt has resulted from her impulses.  She does her best to hide her presence from her prey by rolling in the scent of a non-threatening creature.  Since black bears are reported to roam around here occasionally, I shudder to think what she would do.  Roll in bear poop and then chase them too? Dear me! Well, I digress...

Back to what the walrus said. Now, I don't know about you, but why the sea is boiling hot is a question that has never entered my mind.  When a sea is boiling hot it is because a volcano has just sent molten rock up or down into it, so there is no question as to why - at least in my mind! Now "hot springs," or geysers - that's another story, but again - why is not the question so much as how, and even there I think I could give a credible answer.  I understand you can be cooked in very short order (by one of those short order cooks) if you are not careful to stick your toe or some other safer thermometer into the water first. What a way to go!  Speaking of which, one of my favorite stories in that vein is about the two homeless men walking by a cemetery as a very wealthy man was being buried.  The wealthy man had asked that his body, upon his death,  be seated and interred in a solid gold Cadillac. As the two poor men witnessed the crane lowering the "coffin" into the ground, one commented to the other, "Man, that's living!"  Also, the question of whether pigs have wings is rather stupid.  I mean, all you have to do is look at one to know that they don't, although there is a miniature golf course in East Tennessee that supposedly has flying pigs.  Having only driven by that establishment I cannot attest to the veracity of that claim..  I will tell you that I've seen pigs fly when, well...pigs fly!  Now buffaloes!  We all know that they have wings, and that chickens have fingers, but I digress...

I personally believe that there are a lot better things to speak about than the aforementioned items. And these are not things that either a walrus or an oyster would find the least bit objectionable - whatever the circumstances.  Things like "why is it that, more and more, items at the store are packaged in almost impregnably hard plastic?"  The irony has been pointed out more than once that the tool needed to cut open such packages comes in an equally impregnable wrapping.  Why is it that the messiest, sloppiest food products come in the cans or jars most likely to splash their contents when being opened, (and how is it that spaghetti sauce always knows when I am wearing white?)  Just think about it!  Peanut butter comes in those nice unbreakable plastic jars with the ridged easy-grip, therefore easy-open tops.  But does peanut butter splash?  I think not! And another thing:  skunks have their terrible scent in order to keep their enemies at bay. By offending their enemies' olfactory senses, the skunks can then escape and continue to live.  So why is it that they continue to stink for so long after they are dead?  Isn't that a bit like closing the barn door after the horse is out?  And something else to speak about:  why do clocks run clock-wise?  Who made that decision, and why did everyone just follow lockstep right along with it?  Paradigms are one thing, but for something as ubiquitous as the clock, it seems to me that there would be a number of different models to choose from!  But, I digress...

As I was saying:  Has the time come to speak of many things?  And who gets to choose what we speak of?  I certainly would not choose a walrus to be the decider, but that's just me.  I have heard that they are pretty smart, but as evidenced by the choice of topics, that doesn't appear to be the case with this particular walrus.  Also, I feel it important to note that the few things quoted in the verse above are only a portion of the ridiculous conversations that take place throughout the poem.  The sun and moon have a disagreement, and who does the walrus choose to pal around on the beach with?  A carpenter!  And together, they talk a group of young oysters into walking along the beach with them, and not for the exercise, either.  As a matter of fact, this is one of the more blatant early examples of child abuse and exploitation.  (Of course, the oysters' father does bear part of the responsibility for this.) Pushing, er, digressing on...

Another thing to speak of (though ironically, not much to speak of) is an incident that happened to me yesterday.  I have difficulty walking long distances and consequently have a "handicap parking permit."  I had to stop by the hospital in order to pick up some records that I needed to take with me to a doctor's appointment next week.  (And why is it called a doctor's appointment when it's the patient making the appointment?)  First of all, the number of handicap parking spaces is very limited (sort of odd in itself, being at a hospital and all), and the last three unused handicap spaces were blocked off with traffic cones.  Note that there were no other regular spaces blocked - and no regular spaces empty, either, except at the far end of the lot, which is where I had to park.  And why is it that once you have parked somewhere and gotten out of the car, the perfect parking space opens up right next to the entrance?  Go figure!  I once got some good advice which I remember but which I have never used:  If you are going to write a "stream of consciousness" blog, be careful not to lead the reader up the stream without a paddle!  So my dear, gentle reader, I end this - my mind as cluttered as ever - wishing always for you a paddle, and



  1. Paula ~ Thanks for your AMEN on my comment to "Who Is Your Audience" (Jo's post).

    My guiding principle of life (and writing) . . .

    Don’t worry about what the world wants from you, worry about what makes you come more alive. Because what the world really needs are people who are more alive. ~ Lawrence Le Shan

    Now, I quite like the meandering nature of this post. It's not what I always want to encounter because sometimes "short and sweet" is lovely)but I rather enjoyed it.

    So . . . here's a walrus for YOU. (:3=

  2. Thanks for agreeing to guest blog: