Anytime I see the commercial for “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”, I always answer, “Probably not.”
Of course, I know that I am much more educated than the average ten year old, but most days I don’t feel particularly smarter.
Today, as I head towards my four hundredth blog, I feel that I need to say something smart. Unfortunately I don’t know if I am capable of doing that today. I have been stranded in my house for five days now. An ice storm has turned my neighborhood into a hill full of treacherous ice.
I am physically capable of leaving the actual house;I’m not fused to the couch (yet). My car is trapped at the top of my driveway because I thought that it would be better to have it under the carport to protect it from falling ice shards. I realize now I should have parked it on the street so I wouldn’t have to chisel my way down the ridiculously steep driveway to go anywhere. I have a tension bubble throbbing over my left eye because this house was selected by my EH and the AWT years ago. Both of these people have SUV’s. Neither of them still live here. This is fueling my work at pounding the driveway with a hammer. I plan to hike down the yard and pound my way back up. I will then use the last of the cat litter to create some traction so I can leave my house to buy cat food and cat litter.
Fortunately for me, I already want to punch something.
I realize that none of that diatribe was particularly smart, but more rational than I really want to be.
So here’s my intellectual tid-bit for the day. After perusing the book What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know
I found a poem that I truly appreciate on their list of recommended literature:
Terence, This is Stupid Stuff
A.E. Housman, 1896
‘Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head:
We poor lads, ’tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.’
Why, if ’tis dancing you would be,
There’s brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world’s not.
And faith, ’tis pleasant till ’tis past:
The mischief is that ’twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where,
And carried half way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I’ve lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.
Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
‘Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul’s stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.
There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all the springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.