The War Between the Pates

A true account by Arne Herstad                                                                                                                                Back

A great battle fought with limericks took place in the Tacoma Tideflats in late September, 2004 (precipitating the reawakening of Mt. St. Helens).  It began when Loren the Dane honored himself in my presence by quoting a raunchy limerick written of him by a person of dubious mentality many years back.  To correct his manners, and to properly belittle the poet he quoted, I composed the following:

There was an old golfer named Loren
Whose chief difficulty was scorin'
                 Except in such holes
                As are tunnelled by moles
Or places one might dip an oar in.

                         ArneHerstad©2004  -- For Loren Hansen, in honor of his foundational impulses, 9-21-04.   Notice how I honored him in that last line with an allusion to his mighty Viking ancestry, and how he forthwith repayed my kindness:

There once was a sawyer* named Arnie (sic)
So profound he belonged in a carny*
                 When he talked about God
                 I'd simply stand there and nod
When in truth I was thinkin' 'bout Barney*
                                        -Loren the Dane

To which I replied:

Consider poor Loren, the Dane
Whose glasses are coke-bottle panes
                 The world is apprised
                 By the state of his eyes
That his hand in the matter is plain.

                              ArneHerstad©2004  --For Loren, in response to his poetic impulses, 9-22-04.

So the battle continued.  I told my wife of the battle, and she advised me not to attack his manhood, which impluse I withstood until Loren fired back the following:

At Manke's* I knew a Norwegian
Who fancied himself a collegian
                 He was proud of his wit
                 Most times miss, sometimes hit
For the Danes are the brains of their region
                                         -Loren the Dane

To which I replied:

In Denmark the cheese is so thick
They can't get their stickers to stick
                 But knowing the Swedes
                 Can service their needs
Eases their cheeses a lick

An alternative is shown below.  In obedience to my wife's warning, I didn't include it in the copy I gave him, lest it fall into the hands of his only child, a daughter, who by all accounts takes after her mother, being high-minded, ambitious and kind.

In Denmark the cheese is so thick
They can't get their stickers to stick
                 But knowing the Huns
                 Can provide them with sons
Eases their cheeses a lick

I guess that was the end of it for poor Loren, who in the tradition of his ancestors, gave up trying to best a Norseman in the art of scurvy speech.  To commemorate his concession, I wrote the following:

Upon this refrain, did Loren the Dane,
In his strain at composing another,
                 Concede his defeat
                 And offered his meat
To my axe as it fell on its fodder

Finally, an alternative scurvy verse was given to Loren in order to

...forestall the floods of raven-beer* to flow,
Should Arne's malt-surf* ever find its mark,
Behind the bald, ignoble Danish brow
And penetrate, with light, the Danish dark

In charity, then, the following face-saving token of mutual loss was composed for Loren the Dane on the eve of his defeat:

How mighty, the two who foreswore
Their part in the limerick war
                 Since each by his wit
                 Fell on his own spit
With no one to turn, as before

So endeth the bludgeoning for this day.

EmailArneHerstad                                                                                  Back

* i.e. timber-sawer
** i.e. carnival
***  "Barney", a cartoon dinosaur known only to those who watch television.
**** "Manke's" =. a sawmill in Tacoma
***** "Raven-beer", an old Norse kenning meaning "blood".
****** "Malt-surf", and old Norse kenning meaniing "poetry".