Hipy Papy Bthuthday Thuthda Bthuthdy

18 January 2014 § 2 Comments

18 January 2014

Happy birthday to . . .

A solemn man

A A Milne

. . . who created a marvellous world.  Milne wrote many things (including a birthday story that is even better if you have the picture book version), but Winnie the Pooh is the most fun for a Saturday.  He likes parties.

Winnie the Pooh party

Sometimes Winnie the Pooh has a restless night:

But Pooh couldn’t sleep.  The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn’t. He tried counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps.  And that was worse.

We learn a lesson here: do not count heffalumps.  They are frightful anyhow, even just one of them.  And do not even entertain the minutest thought of counting woozles—creatures too terrifying to post here.

They will steal all of your imaginary honey

They will cause nightmares and steal all of your imaginary honey.

Here is “Teddy Bear” (first published in Punch in 1924 and later that year in When We Were Very Young—my copy of which is very worn and cherished):

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.                                        

Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,                                      
Which is not to be wondered at;                                      
He gets what exercise he can                                          
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.

Now tubbiness is just the thing
Which gets a fellow wondering;
And Teddy worried lots about
The fact that he was rather stout.
He thought: “If only I were thin!
But how does anyone begin?”
He thought: “It really isn’t fair
To grudge one exercise and air.”

For many weeks he pressed in vain
His nose against the window-pane,
And envied those who walked about
Reducing their unwanted stout.
None of the people he could see
“Is quite” (he said) “as fat as me!”
Then, with a still more moving sigh,
“I mean” (he said) “as fat as I!”

Now Teddy, as was only right,
Slept in the ottoman at night,
And with him crowded in as well
More animals than I can tell;
Not only these, but books and things,
Such as a kind relation brings—
Old tales of “Once upon a time,”
And history retold in rhyme.

One night it happened that he took
A peep at an old picture-book,
Wherein he came across by chance
The picture of a King of France
(A stoutish man) and, down below,
These words: “King Louis So and So,
Nicknamed ‘The Handsome!'” There he sat,

And (think of it!) the man was fat!

Our bear rejoiced like anything
To read about this famous King,
Nicknamed “The Handsome.” There he sat,
And certainly the man was fat.
Nicknamed “The Handsome.” Not a doubt
The man was definitely stout.
Why then, a bear (for all his tub )
Might yet be named “The Handsome Cub!”

“Might yet be named.” Or did he mean
That years ago he “might have been”?
For now he felt a slight misgiving:
“Is Louis So and So still living?
Fashions in beauty have a way
Of altering from day to day.
Is ‘Handsome Louis’ with us yet?
Unfortunately I forget.”

Next morning (nose to window-pane)
The doubt occurred to him again.
One question hammered in his head:
“Is he alive or is he dead?”
Thus, nose to pane, he pondered; but
The lattice window, loosely shut,
Swung open. With one startled “Oh!”
Our Teddy disappeared below.

There happened to be passing by
A plump man with a twinkling eye,
Who, seeing Teddy in the street,
Raised him politely to his feet,
And murmured kindly in his ear
Soft words of comfort and of cheer:
“Well, well!” “Allow me!” “Not at all.”
“Tut-tut! A very nasty fall.”

Our Teddy answered not a word;
It’s doubtful if he even heard.
Our bear could only look and look:
The stout man in the picture-book!
That ‘handsome’ King – could this be he,
This man of adiposity?
“Impossible,” he thought. “But still,
No harm in asking. Yes I will!”

“Are you,” he said,”by any chance
His Majesty the King of France?”

The other answered, “I am that,”
Bowed stiffly, and removed his hat;

Then said, “Excuse me,” with an air,
“But is it Mr Edward Bear?”
And Teddy, bending very low,
Replied politely, “Even so!”

They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that . . . 
Then said His Majesty, “Well, well,
I must get on,” and rang the bell.

“Your bear, I think,” he smiled. “Good-day!”
And turned, and went upon his way.

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.

But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about—
He’s proud of being short and stout.

Winnie the Pooh dance

Happily, I have my own Winnie the Pooh (and about a dozen miniature jars of honey), so he will help throw an excellent party tonight.

Now for a quick jaunt into the body-soul dichotomy . . . and unity.  The sixth comment is also a good thought.

Classes have begun again.  A gem has already popped out of my cellular biology book:

Trying to appreciate cellular biology without a knowledge of chemistry would be like trying to appreciate a translation of Chekhov without a knowledge of Russian.  Most of the meaning would probably get through, but much of the beauty and depth of appreciation would be lost in the translation.

Yesterday, a professor used the word “goop”.  From now on, that will be considered an appropriate word to use in describing cytosol, agarose, and anything else vaguely blobish or honeylike in texture.

Happy 100th post.  It makes me think of a beloved hymn.  The fiftieth anniversary of the coronation was probably the best use ever for the old 100th.


§ 2 Responses to Hipy Papy Bthuthday Thuthda Bthuthdy

  • It’s such a happy poem, especially since it first appeared to be a nice way to tell little kids to lose weight.

    You now have one more word to use in place of “thing”. 🙂

  • aixpatriate says:

    Rather about not dwelling on the real or perceived expectations of society regarding appearance, especially in how these expectations relate to and form a conception of one’s value : )


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