Thursday, October 27, 2005

JRR Tolkien and Dr. Seuss -- separated at birth?

Someone at work brought up the subject of the Lord of the Rings trilogy today... not the movies, but the books. Twice in my life now — once as a 16-year-old boy and later as a man in his early 30s — I've tried to wade through the thing. I barely made it a hundred pages as a youth, but I thought that by the time I'd doubled my age, my chops would be up to the task.

Uh uh.

I praise myself for having made it all the way through The Hobbit... it took a while, but I made it. But once I got into the trilogy proper, it... just... ground... me... down. I surrendered. The fellow who lent me the books made the mistake of asking me what I found so difficult about it. The discussion today reminded me of my reply to him, captured in e-mail archives from several years ago. I now present that reply to you, in hopes that it will resonate with some reader, sometime, and provoke a smile of recognition. :) Please enjoy. Or... at least, don't be too offended. :)

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Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry were anything but merry as they trundled along the forest path towards certain doom and likely dismemberment. But they knew how to keep their spirits up, and were soon chattering away like great fat chipmunks on an acorn ale bender:

Ping, bling, follow the ring
Schwing, gling, swallow the thing
Hurdely burdely bow!
Skeedly weedly woe!
Needly pop! Tweedly drop!
Ow I stubbed my toe.

Tom Bombadil seemed to jump down on them from out of the sky, like rain, which was appropriate because as a result their trousers were all sodden. “What’s this, then?” Tom boomed. “Wee hobbits belting out the most glorious tune I ever heard, save one of my own? Try this one on for size, my small adventurers!”

Eat a bean, start a fart,
Eat a green, head a-smart,
Oh I love to wander ‘round,
Piss and wind and smoke and sound,
Marching through the forest cool,
Comb my beard with mining tools,
Peering in the silv’ry pool, hey!
Ho! Hee! Huh! Hum! Hi! Hic!

But all this talk of food had a bad effect, for didn’t it summon old Smaug onto the scene! He slithered over the tree tops like an evil wind, and appeared before them with a serviette tied around his neck, a hobbit-sized pitchfork in one claw and a toothpick in the other.
“We’re doomed!” cried Sam, wringing out his pants.
“Yes, yes, most assuredly,” agreed the dragon. “But before I eat you all, a song to soften you up…”

Eat, meat, heat, feet,
Seat, teat, wheat, cheat
Now I’m going to chew
Turn you into poo
That’s what I will do
Say ‘bye’ not ‘haloo’!


“We’ll see about that,” said Tom. The dragon decided he would be the first to go, and had just begun to move when, as luck would have it, Gandalf appeared from behind a tree, to the great relief of the hobbits! “Oh, I think not,” he told Smaug, and there was a great battle in which the forests burned and mountains fell and cities were laid waste and unicorns wept big tears that turned to crystals that trapped tiny pixies for a thousand years, but finally Smaug was put down, so at last Gandalf could sing:

I have smote the dragon, hey!
Pass me now the flagon, ho!
I’m not on the wagon, hi!
Surely we—


“For fuck’s sake!” cried the reader. “Can we please just get on with the story without having to suffer through this shitty, masturbatory poetry every other page? And it’s not bad enough it comes thick as oatmeal, it has to be the worst poetry I’ve read since grade eight! I mean, is every character in this story an artless drunk who fancies himself a slightly effeminate Elvis Presley, or what? Will you please just for God’s sake tell the fucking story?…”
Yes. Well. Erm. So Gandalf, Tom, and the hobbits feasted on Smaug steaks and Smaug lager for a fortnight, while they sat around the fire, swapping great tales and singing heroic tunes li— Oh, wait, I can’t, can I. Well, they started off towards Mordor again, singing a—oh, shit. And when they arrived, they called Sauron out to battle with a—oh, damn…

1 comment:

James said...

Yes, well, there's a reason that pretty much every adaptation of Lord of the Rings (radio, animation, live-action movies) leaves out Tom Bombadil...