Third Ingrowing Toenail

Humpty's Page




rue, Humpty Dumpty may not be the most agreeable character the world has ever seen, but nobody deserves to be treated the way, he's being treated. His whole life everybody made fun of him because of his figure. Small wonder he became an obnoxious egghead. And now they are collecting his effigy, they have clubs, webrings and what nots.
about myself
when i grew up i had the right skin,eye and hair color, belonged to the right religion and one of the two major sex groups, went to the right schools and was as far from being a member of a disadvantaged minority as you can possibly be. adolescence changed all that. suddenly i belonged to a minority group of one. and such a group has very few proud members.
so i beg indulgence of all those who grew up with a chip on their shoulder: i have an inkling of what you must have gone through, but i really can't know.
The important thing about Humpty Dumpty isn't his form but his intellectual achievements. He quite rightly noticed that there were many more un-birthdays than birthdays. His poem "In Winter when the Fields are White" can hardly be forgotten by anyone exposed to it at an impressionable age. Yet his expertise lies neither in mathematics nor in poetry, but in semantics.
Judge Alderson had to try a man clearly guilty of having stolen a pair of shoes. He had decided not to brief Counsel and this made the judge even more anxious to be helpful.
"Do tell the jury exactly what happened," he said in a kindly tone.
The man shuffled uncomfortably in the shoes concerned.
"Well, my lord, it was like this",he said conversationally. "I saw the shoes on a stall outside the shop and thought I might have a bit of fun with the chap who owned the shop. As soon as his back was turned, I just leaned over and took 'em."
"So it was only a practical joke?" murmured the judge.
"Yes, it was," agreed the accused eagerly.
"And how far did you carry the shoes?"
"A matter of a couple of miles, my lord."
Alderson turned to the jury. "I think that is carrying the joke too far, don't you?"

Stanley Jackson: Laughter at Law

Humpty Dumpty of course understood, what the real question was, in his words: Which is to be the master, or in the above case: How far can you carry a joke?
He solved the problem of meaning by paying the words extra when he made them do a lot of work.

And he certainly wasn't the only one to do so. Famous examples of enhanced words must include Freedom (very popular in capitalist states), Democracy (specially beloved by communists) and SEX or perhaps NOT SEX (Bill Clinton). One should expect Freedom to be quite well of and Democracy sporting a chest full of medals. And of course one always wonders what Sex got out of it.

Another word doing overtime is God. And it gets mostly paid with the lives of those who don't believe. I often ask myself, whether God shouldn't be given a rest.

* * *

An interesting facet of Humpty's character is his Pride (definitely written and pronounced with a capital P). That pride comes before the fall, is a popular misconception. Most people who took a fall, were never particularly proud. And few mishaps happen to proud people. Humpty's pride isn't hubris, the kind greek tragedies are made on, but rather the having-kept-up-with-the-Joneses and having-gone-one-better sort, a sad sort of pride really.

And talking of pride: Should I be proud of my blue eyes? or my blonde hair? or the fact that I'm 5ft 9? (Having whetted your appetite I refer you to a picture of me.) Most sensible people would consider such pride to be a bit ridiculous and possibly pathetic. I might reasonably pride myself on my achievements: climbing the Everest for example (even though for the life of me I can't understand, why anybody would want to do that). But it is a bit sad when people have to pride themselves on what they are.

Take pride weeks. Their very existence is ominous, meaning that admitting what you are, is considered such a feat, that you can or perhaps even should be proud of it. Nobody ought to feel ashamed for being white, female or homosexual, but there's not much to be proud of it either.

* * *

Humpty's views on what the human anatomy could look like, must have been among the most progressive of his time. What might have happened, had Humpty chosen to become an artist, a sculptor or at least a plastic surgeon instead of sitting on his wall (no mean feat by itself). The mind boggles at the thought.

"Your face is the same as everybody has- the two eyes, so-" (marking their places in the air with his thumb) "nose in the middle, mouth under. It's always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance- or the mouth at the top- that would be some help."
"It wouldn't look nice," Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty only shut his eyes, and said "Wait till you've tried."

The words of a prophet in the Victorian wilderness.

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