Monday, July 10, 2006

"never saw a purple cow..."

Purple Cow Mascot

My favorite short children's poem back when I was a lad of merely 6 years was Frank Gelett Burgess's Purple Cow:
Purple Cow
I never saw a Purple Cow;
I never hope to See One;
But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
I'd rather See than Be One!

I liked this because when my fellow first-grader Tonya Bassham recited it as we were waiting for our schoolbus, my older brother, Pat, retorted, "I wouldn't -- I'd rather be a purple cow!" Tonya and her cousin Gayla Coleman, another first-grader, both became irate at Pat's insistence that he'd rather be a purple cow. I found that so funny .... at the time, but I've since repented for laughing at them, especially since they've both gone on to become far more successful in life than I. She who laughs last laughs best...

Incidentally, like Mearns, Burgess lived a good, long ... but more eventful life (1866-1951). According to Wikipedia, around 1894, he lost his teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley "because of unmentionable alterations of statues ... of Henry Cogswell, a famous Bay Area dentist who had donated several statues of himself to the city of San Francisco, California." It appears that one of the more mentionable thing that Burgess did was to topple several of these three-dimensional expressions of Cogswell's haughtiness, which seems fitting to me, for as the good book says:

Pride goeth before destruction,
and an haughty spirit before a fall
(Proverbs 16:18, King James Bible)

Burgess sounds like NoZe Brother material to me...

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4 Comments:

At 2:30 PM, Blogger eshuneutics said...

You're getting closer and closer to the mirror, will soon be Through the Looking Glass where nonsense and non-sense happily collide.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger steph said...

"much more successful in life..." How do you measure success? How about happiness in love, health and humour? What is life worth if you can't laugh at yourself or share the laughs of your friends?

You are pretty successful yourself.

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Eshuneutics, one has to be careful about leaking into a parallel universe (to use a Vonnegutean expression). If the one leaked into is slightly different from our own, leaking back out might be impossible. Perhaps the texts there are just Alice in the Looking Glass and Through Wonderland.

Perhaps I'd best take a magic mirror with me when I go.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:59 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Steph, in terms of good sense and good cents, they have me beat. As for the other things, perhaps they have equivalent amounts of those as well ... and therefore come out ahead.

Jeffery Hodges

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