ME: Forgive me, Professor, but are you not stretching things a bit to make your point. Perhaps the egg was left on the wall by mistake. Perhaps no one planned its demise by situating it where it would fall. This is possible, isn’t it?
MUCHOGUSTO: I will give you the benefit of the doubt, dear fellow, and not lump you in with the insensitives. Do you have children?
ME: I’d rather we stayed on subject.
MUCHOGUSTO: Very well, then. You appear to insinuate that perhaps I exaggerate the cruelty in Humpty Dumpty. Let us then look at another nursery rhyme, whose cruelty it is impossible to deny. The was an old woman who lived in a shoe. Putting aside for a moment the question of relative sizes—a giant’s shoe or a Lilliputian old woman—think of how the inside of a shoe must smell. Unless it is brand new, the shoe will have the aroma of a foot, possibly a foot infected with fungus. (This is no wealthy old woman, so the shoe is likely quite worn and aromatic, if I may be permitted the use of the euphemism. How revolting a living situation! But let us continue.
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. To this reader, at least, it appears that the old woman did not necessarily choose to have so many children. We may well imagine the poor woman’s situation, how this state of affairs occurred, but in deference to those who shy away from graphic depictions of violence—and I am one of them—I will say no more.
She gave them some broth without any bread. It takes no great effort to visualize how runny this broth must be.
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
ME: You’ve certainly made your point with this one, Professor.