I was hanging out with my soon-to-be four year old granddaughter recently and at a couple of points during the visit, when she was confronted by something novel or funny , she earnestly exclaimed, “What da heck?” I snorted back a guffaw the first time I heard her say it, trying to guess which immediate/extended family member she could have picked it up from. A parent? A grandparent? An aunt or uncle? And could this person possibly have a propensity for the French language?
Fast forward a few days to where I caught myself saying “What da heck?” when I ran across stuff that was novel, puzzling or just plain goofy. This is the great thing about little kids: they remind you that the world can be a pretty fascinating and amusing place if you just start paying attention and look at the world through their eyes.
All my vicarious eye-looking and attention-paying paid off (!) I catalogued several novel, goofy things that I need to tell you about, including rats that have been trained to drive tiny vehicles, Turkey Testicle Festivals (TTFs) and the best way to remove the arils from a pomegranate. Today, unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to get into mobile rats (or ratmobiles), turkey gonads or arils.
Today, fortunately, I intend to bring closure to 2021 and tell you (as promised) who Donald Yetter Gardner was. Not only do I intend to do it, I’m actually going to do it. In fact, I’ll do it right now if you’ll just hush up and let me get a word in edgewise (metaphor alert). I feel like I’m trying to interrupt an auctioneer (simile alert).
Anyway… Donald Yetter Gardner was the author and composer of “All I want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.” He supposedly wrote it in 30 minutes flat after substitute teaching in a class full of little kids, many of who were missing various of their front teeth. He also wrote hymns, including “Give me peace, O Lord” which he wrote in about fifteen seconds after substitute teaching a class at the venerable Missouri Auction School. Despite all that substitute teaching, Donald lived to the ripe old age of 91. As far as I know, he did not compose anything having to do with pomegranates.
I couldn’t find a photo of Mr. Gardner but I did find a photo of his headstone.
I won’t be able to take a slice out of that headstone (metaphor alert) and reference a song in my epitaph because I haven’t written any songs; however, I did write this poem back in the Emedics blog days:
Here at the school for greeting card writers, things are looking pretty solemn.
We regret that though we’ve wracked our brains, we couldn’t come up with a column.
SQUIDs*, newts, warthogs, Spam; our topics are diverse.
But tonight our heads are empty; every hour it grows worse.
At first we thought we’d talk of pigs but that proved way too boaring.
Before we’d written twenty lines we both were soundly snoring.
“Humanitarianism for beginners” seemed like a hopeful topic,
But we couldn’t think of much to say; we were feeling misanthropic.
Week in, week out, it ain’t no picnic, writing this stuff for free,
And we know that no one’s counting but this is number forty-three**.
Some of you don’t get our jokes and this we are aware of.
But it doesn’t really bother us because we are a pair of:
Rugged individualists trying to mimic Ogden Nash,
The only difference being, he traded words for cash.
Now we’re feeling really tired; we have to wrap this up.
So Merry Christmas. Don’t eat too much or else you will throw up.
*SQUID: Superconducting Quantum Interference Device
**#43 vs #44. Actually, the poem was featured in Emedics number forty-four but forty-four doesn’t rhyme with “free”
I feel like my poem would be out of place on a headstone but if anyone has a witty epitaph idea for their headstone send it to me! This could be the start of the First Annual LTD Epitaph Contest.
As far my epitaph goes, I think I’ll just go with: “His poetry sucked but that aside, he was a lot smarter than he looked.”
Next post: Who is Ogden Nash?