Why I’m So Bad

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I wake up in the small hours of the night, usually at 3:03 am. Don’t ask me why. I just do. It’s almost always my worry time. I worry about my wife, things not done around the house, names I can’t remember (Does anyone else have a problem remembering the name of Christopher Walken?), the alarming state of my knees, my teeth, my pancreas, my everything. Then I fall back to sleep and all is well when I awaken.

The other morning, though, I woke at 3:03 am and felt the necessity of remembering the totality of The Gashlycrumb Tinies. An alphabetic poem by the late Edward Gorey about murdered young children.

I was thinking, at 3:03 and beyond, that we used to learn poems and have to recite them in class. I did that as well as anybody. But they were mostly bad poems. James Whitcomb Riley and Washington Irving stuff. What I remember is the stuff I taught myself at an early age. Mostly Poe. And this one, singularly catchy and not politically correct epic by Edward Gorey. My wife hates that I know it so well. But I do.

Know it by heart. Except that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t remember it. All I could recall was “K is for Kate, who was struck with an axe.”

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Call it poetic justice or whatever you want, but it took me 90 minutes to remember all 26 names and lines. I was afraid, you see, that I had contracted Alzheimer’s.

Do any of you suffer from that fear?

I mostly had it down within the first half hour. But I couldn’t recall the ‘S’ and ‘T’ line. Again and again and again. For a long long hour. It finally came to me. ‘S’ was the name of my own sister. Deal with that in the middle of the night.

S is for Susan, who perished of fits. T is for Titus, who was blown to bits.

Wish I'd never seen the fits.

Wish I’d never seen the fits.

And then, thankfully, I fell back to sleep. What a bad boy am I.

  1. Alfa’s avatar

    Very bad. You better hope there’s not coal in your stocking.

    Reply

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