by Joel Hirst (November 2018)
Moody Blue, Charles Cham, 1998
They say that together two minds are much better, a fact that I have known as true;
And this my dear friend is the truth I defend as to why I am grateful for you;
For success we’ve been praised on life’s long pathways, but something is most oft unheeded;
Our achievements have been thanks to your acumen, of genius I’d never been treated.
To arrive at this shore without even an oar, with no brain has been really quite hard;
So I’ll tell you the story of my startling glory, from days when my work was not starred;
It began long ago, at the ripe age of four when I realized that something was wrong;
Sticker-stars ne’er shown, ‘top my tests were unknown, and I knew that my brain was not strong.
It is said that a sloth who is rarely aloft learns his burden is to compensate;
But for boy who is dim, yes his chances are slim and requires an egghead first rate;
Peggy Sue was the name of the girl I did friend who would extricate me from my pickle;
How was I to know disposition of said ugly girl was so terribly fickle.
The first demand she did bring was for me to sing silly songs at the top of my lungs;
Of Robin the scary and Oscar the hairy, unusual tunes by me sung;
And then she requested that I should be bested by troll from the deep forest green;
But I of this task was delivered at last for a troll Peggy Sue’d never seen.
Nevertheless when the time came for tests Peggy Sue did live up to her word;
And she sat right beside me and her hand did guide me through questions I found quite absurd;
And thusly the dawn of my unrefined con was announced in the loutish of ways;
With me songs a’grunting and for trolls a’hunting for fully the length of the days.
Now things got unsteady though they thought me ready, arriving the headmaster’s note;
“So proud, our star student go forth and be prudent and follow your mind,” the man wrote;
But a sage adolescent whose naïve and pubescent is something that no-one has seen;
Worse for brainless boy-man, alone with his boy-plans expected to act like a teen.
Now unlike before when I’d needed succor from the brainy but plain Peggy Sue;
I knew that a’cheatin while some girl a’sweetin was something I’d rather not do;
For, being quite honest, with future upon us—to college I’d never go;
Instead I divined, with small brain I opined ‘haps my muscles could steal me the show.
With plan hatched in my head, at last I was wed on the plot to become very strong;
And as I grew in size I would catch someone’s eyes; the fame, oh what could go wrong?
So morning till night I’d work out with my right and then night till the dawn on my left;
Slowly, and with vigor I’d lift with such rigor, ev’ry weight I could find would I heft.
But time it fled by and I tried not to cry as I came to accept my fool gaffe;
Despite the great bout I had started to doubt, for my size it had dwindled by half;
Now there’s those as who say that a boy with no brain, he is easily gay never glum;
But alas as for me, at the age of sixteen twas the saddest of those who are dumb.
Yet I never surrendered, my will I then rendered to liberate me from my plight;
What to do on this earth for a boy of dim birth who was also in many ways slight;
To answer this query, so challenging very I settled myself on a quest;
At the end of long journey, a task or a tourney I would finally have found my rest.
The army I joined a new soldier was coined and my government sent me to war;
To slog through deep trenches and fight for the Frenches as millions had done so before;
I was quite ecstatic, the work here was matic and simple for those wit deprived;
So to make a good private, and war to survive it was everything for which I strived.
My instructors did witness, first order of business was readying me for the fight;
But picking potatoes, and peeling tomatoes—no something quite didn’t feel right;
After weeks of preparing and to the men bearing the meals for to keep up the clash;
I began to say, to myself anyway, that my choice of crusade had been brash.
Now such as it was, I continued my cause for a paper of law I had signed;
But at every shot, whether questioned or not, to the generals I freely whined;
Until at long last my commander, harassed, demanded the problem with me;
“Stop your complaining, your wailing is draining! JUST GO!” and at last I was free.
Now you who are reading might think it exceeding’ly lucky that I was set loose;
But between you and me, I had nowhere to be so instead I just caught a caboose;
There are those who, eavesdropping, say life of train-hopping is glamorous and quite a treat;
To you man and maiden I dare you to trade-in, for the life of a vagrant’s not neat.
But nevertheless I did do my darn best to endure till the end of the road;
Down the great plains and wide to the town of Van Eyes I was riding as part of the load;
Arriving on train to Van Eyes in the rain I had nothing but my little dog;
A mangy and scraggly exceedingly shaggy and smelly small dachshund I named Gog.
Now the first rule of thumb if hobo you become is to find yourself somewhere to rest;
For there’s nothing much worse—it might drive you to curse—than to sleep without even a nest;
So, Van Eyes is a ville at the foot of a hill which is nestled beside of the sea;
Thus I had to decide—absent logic—which side, in hot or in chill should I be.
Decisions for tramp who is senseless and damp are not painless, both options I toyed;
But in lieu of hard thinkin in rainstorm a’blinkin a very small coin I employed;
It rose through the air from my thumb as I dared it to carry me home to my burrow;
But instead of solution I got more confusion for it settled upright in a furrow.
And to make matters worse to return to my purse silver piece that had jilted me so;
I reached down resigned, only to find that the coin in the gutter did go;
Now that was not funny, it’d been my last money and now I had naught to buy dinner;
And that moment, my friend, I screamed “THIS IS THE END”, and resigned to becoming much thinner.
That was a low, I had nowhere to go and I probably couldn’t get wetter;
Next morn I awoke and I shook off my yoke and I vowed that the things would get better;
First thing on my mind, of the limited kind, I resolved to go find me employment;
A real job would I seek, p’haps something quite meek and give up my fools quest for enjoyment.
Now where should I start, from where to depart for a dull lad who knew only scheming?
For no paper, list printed for surly, contrary, and worse for posh life only dreaming;
I went to Goodwill and I found to my thrill some free pants and old tie I could wear;
Then walked I door to door, to establishments score and ask for a job I did dare.
It was there in Van Eyes that my lot was revised, down in a joint by the beach;
Where I tended with care each and every pair who ice cream of me did beseech;
T’was where we at last met and our futures were set, and my life was quickly transformed;
That was the beginning of my days of winning as the ice-cream world we stormed.
It was one sunny Sunday, a genuine fun-day for weather was warm and was grand;
Outside near the water it only got hotter, and there was and fete and a band;
In came you a’needin, in fact you were pleading for popsicle ice-cold and sweet;
We started a’talkin as music was rockin and us swayin’ hard to the beat.
We became quite good friends, in fact friends to the end, though you were so desperately shy;
You rarely could speak, to stranger barely squeak, if it wasn’t ice cream to buy;
Now time went along, I was working headlong, determined to save me some cash;
When you asked for a walk, for you wanted to talk, and out of the store we did dash;
“I’m quite good with math” you said on the path, as something in your thoughts you weighed;
“Its ice cream I know!” and I almost did glow, for a dozen new flavors I’d made;
“We should open a store, sell ice-cream on the shore, for your opuses are quite delicious!”
“And you’re good and kind; while the numbers I mind, our business could be quite ambitious!”
From then on t’was smooth sailing, there was no more flailing, for our stores they did multiply;
One became two became four and then more as together we reached for the sky;
Though my brain was quite modest, and you, folks find oddest—together discovered the trick;
We each have our talents, and when joined they balance, as we built a business quite slick.
each of us, see, reach moment when we must relinquish the ruin we cradle;
At that instant surrender our hearts become tender and grace is doled out with a ladle;
So my life, as you see has its morals of three for to carry me on my way;
And here they are, and I’m happier by far, as I’ve learned how to seize the day.
The first lesson my friend which I did comprehend, make peace with who you were born;
Don’t scheme and don’t whine, or seek shortcuts to find, or good old hard work don’t you scorn;
The next lesson, don’t cheat and don’t lie, I entreat! For though you might fool for a season;
A moment will come when they’ll realize your dumb, and you will be left with no reason.
The last moral I’ve charted is the one where we started, the most vital thing I have known;
Is when you work together, no matter the weather, amazing things you’ll have grown;
So there, now go forth, find your skills, find your worth, and finding good friends win the race;
And you’ll find that the earth is in fact full of mirth and is really not that bad a place.
Joel D. Hirst is a writer and novelist; his most recent novel is I, Charles, From the Camps. He was a Fellow in Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas and an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has a Masters from Brandeis University. He tweets @joelhirst and his public facebook is @JoelDHirst
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