Humpty is well known

Michael Snee

I never knew so many so many co-workers could recite the verse or come so close to getting the verse right. I never thought so many would volunteer that they had felt like Humpty at times. And I never realized so many would add that there was no help. I had no idea Humpty was so well known. After all, it’s just a little verse in a kid’s book.

Even as adults, Humpty was stuck in our minds. Not that we think about it everyday, but still.

A co-worker reminded me that Humpty Dumpty is referred to by politicians and other speakers when they want to illustrate insurmountable odds, impossibility and hopelessness. Maybe that’s why we can still recite it as adults. We’re frequently reminded of Humpty and, in many ways, compared to him.

Like Humpty, we all climb up toward our goals, sit on walls, maybe to rest or enjoy the view––then suddenly without warning, we fall. We lose a job, a loving spouse or a precious child. We have our heart broken in a crumbling romance, get picked last when others choose sides, or actually slip from the monkey bars and crack our head. There are so many ways to fall.

So what does Humpty teach us about falling? I wonder. Does it program us to think a certain way? Maybe. Would that programming be good or bad, positive or negative? Can an innocent little rhyme really affect us?

To experiment, fill in these blanks–– Salt and ________. Bacon and _______.  Peanut butter and __________. For God and ____________. In God we _________. You know what goes in these blanks from years of programming. Are we affected in ways that go beyond filling in the blanks?

In the wake of my Humpty experiment I thought more deeply about my own life, where I was depressed, embarrassed, insulted, left behind, chosen last, picked on, misunderstood, and sometimes physically hurt by dropping something on my foot or having a wrench slip from a stubborn nut I was trying to get lose. When I played high school football I tore ligaments in my left hand and injured my back.

It’s the back injury that opened the door to something else I never knew about . Something I would never forget.

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