Government Spending

The Jubjub Hole

With apologies to Dr. Seuss


In the kingdom of Whatsis, on the Island of Ooze,
Lived a gaggle of Spendits of two different hues.
Each Spendit was feathered, each Spendit was plump,
Each walked with a kind of galumpety-lump.
They all looked alike, although it is true
Some Spendits were Red, and others were Blue.

But regardless of color, they all loved to eat
The fruit of the jubjub: It was juicy and sweet —
Like an orbulus orange, but tastier yet
And filling, and wholesome, and wetter than wet
And it gave them a case of the all-over yummies

As soon as a bite of it tickled their tummies.
The jubjub had grown on the Island of Ooze
For centuries — Eons! — Millennia! — choose
Your own measure then times it times ten;
The tree had grown giantish even back then.
And none of the Spendits, who were all rather small
Had ever seen anything close to it all.

But the Spendits did not merely eat the fruit — no!
They took jubjub twigs and arranged them just so
Into houses and stables with jubjub-leaf roofs,
And they used jubjub seeds to make goomfa-la-goofs
Which they slowly paraded 'round Jubjub Tree Park,
Which they'd paved, as you've guessed, with jubjub tree bark.

And everything oozlered on for a while,
With the Spendits all living in comfortable style
And the jubjub providing for every need;
Life in Whatsis was good, all the Spendits agreed.
Not a thing in the kingdom would now be amiss
If the Spendits had simply left it like this.

But oh no! — for you see, the Spendits grew greedy
And the Spendits with needs grew even more needy
And the ones who had plenty felt they deserved even more
So all of the Spendits Spent more than before.
Who started it off, no one ever quite knew —
Though they all blamed each other, as Spendits will do.

First little by little, then a lot by a lot
The Spendits began Spending more jub than they got.
An extra leaf here or a bit of fruit there —
Why, no one would miss it! Why, no one would care!
The tree was so big and the Spendits so bitty
That to not help themselves seemed almost a pity.

And besides, the jubjub had so many fine uses!
They Spent it for carpet, and fleeces and flooces,
And wingdigs, and wackmeres, and snorples and sneetches,
And fabric for jerkins and waistcoats and breeches.
They used it for tires and hung it as art —
Everything on the island had some jubjub part.

Then one day a small Spendit named Melody Monk
Was alarmed to discover the jubjub had shrunk.
It couldn't be possible! Yet it was so:
The nine-hundred steps that it took her to go
From Branch A to Branch B took eight sixty-three —
And since SHE was the same size, it must be the tree.

Then soon other Spendits began to take note —
So they made measurements, which they carefully wrote
In jubjub-leaf ledgers, so they could compare
How much jubjub there WASN'T with what USED to be there.
"Our jubjub is shrinking!" they cried in dismay
As they hacked off more pieces and dragged them away.

They formed a commission to study the tree,
And built it an office — then two, and then three —
And they staffed them with scholars, and clerics, and clerks
Who stayed up all night reading mystical works
So the blue-ribbon panel could answer the riddle
Of what could be making their giant tree little.

They studied two decades, then three, and then four,
While the Spendits kept Spending the same as before
And the jubjub kept shrinking, 'til one day they found
The top of the tree just an inch off the ground.
The leaves and the branches were all gone, it was true —
Which left them with only one thing left to do.

The top of a tree is not NEARLY as big
As the part underground — so they started to dig.
They brought in a giant jub-powered steam shovel
To dig out the roots, while back up above-l
The Spendits kept Spending jubjub for whatever
Seemed useful, or needed, or fancy or clever.

But once in a while they would pause and look down
At the hole that was growing below them, and frown,
And argue about which of them was to blame
For the gash in the ground — for it seemed quite a shame
That right in the middle of Ooze there should be
Such a black deficit where there once stood a tree.

"Our children!" they cried, in a voice like a moan
"There will be no more jubjub when they are all grown
If we keep digging like this! We must stop it right now!"
The problem, of course, was they didn't know how.
They'd gotten so used to their jub-Spending ways
That anything else left them lost in a daze.

"This is YOUR fault!" said some of the Reds to the Blues.
"You and your snork-snackered bar-bufaloos,
"Your fancy-dress gowns and your jewel-covered glasses
"Have left nothing left for the Red Spendit masses!
"Why, none of us Reds would have cause for complaint
"If you greedy Blues had just shown some restraint!"

"Oh, it IS?" said the Blues, as they drew themselves up.
"What about your wumbulus flupper-de-flup?
"Your mingulous gomers and two-decker kleetches?
"Your hair bows and bracelets and lace-covered breeches?
"Your Ooze Day Parades and your cakings and ices?
"You Reds are the Spendits to blame for this crisis!"

So there they all stood, pointing fingers and yelling
While below them the black hole kept growing and swelling.
And then at the moment of greatest confusion
The panel announced it had reached a conclusion:
The Kingdom of Whatsis was bound for disaster.
The Spendits all nodded, then Spent even faster.

The last that was heard, from fifteen miles below ground
Was a very faint, kind of a grubulous sound.
The Spendits had all fallen in, don't you see,
In the hole they had made of their glorious tree —
And many years later they're bickering yet
Over who is to blame for their national debt.

But nobody else cares — no one even remembers
The kingdom of Whatsis or its big-Spending members,
Who could have been spared a horrible fate
If someone had only stood up to relate —
In the midst of their jubjub consumption and gigging —
The First Rule of Holes: When you're in one, quit digging.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. A Barton Hinkle Heimer Schmidt
    That’s my name too
    Whenever we go out
    The people Always shout.
    There goes A Barton Hinkle Heimer Schmidt

    1. My heart rejoices…

    2. How pass

  2. This should have been the friday funny.

    1. It’s not that bad. Probably good reading for kids.

    2. Except it really happened: see Easter Island.

    3. He spelled floomer wrong!

  3. Mr. Hinkle, the commentariat would like to present you with one shiny, new internet.

    You’ve earned it.

  4. He is the prose (poetry in this case?) equivalent of the Friday Funny.

    1. I have never been amused by the Friday Funny.

  5. The Once-ler would be proud of you.

  6. This should become mandatory reading in every Government School in the land. I’m not holding my breath…

  7. Brilliant ! A magnificent piece.

  8. I like it! Too bad the Spendits will have no idea what you’re talking about.

  9. Caption contest!

    The First Lady presents the Administration’s new Economic Recovery Tiger Team to a puzzled media.

  10. Nah, you don’t have to apologize. Nothing this witty can piss me off after what Jim Carrey and Mike Meyers did to my two most popular books.

  11. A quick theory on why the great spending binge. As the hole in the ground where the Jubjub used to be grew larger, do you suppose the Spendits all realized there was only so much Jubjub left and so, redoubled their efforts to get as much Jubjub as they could before it ran out?

    Put, in more modern terms, do you suppose the great spending orgy of 2007-present is because the politicians and the people who own them realize there isn’t much free government money left to steal so, they’ve gone into a feeding frenzy to make sure they each get as much as possible?

    1. Looters trying to loot as much as possible before the collapse. Hiss….

  12. Living in Richmond, I’ve seen many great parodies like this from Mr. Hinkle

    1. Nice to know of one more of us in Central Virginia.

  13. I absolutely recommend that you find an illustrator, tidy this up a bit and get it published. This is the type of thing kids should be reading today.

    1. I’d buy it.

      …uh, for the, uh, kids. That I’ll have. someday. Yeah.

  14. There once was a government,
    it became too fucking big and oppressive,
    we we had to wind those mother-fucking cock-gobblers back down into place.

    That’s my entry. Rate + constructive criticism. Do I have a future in children’s literature?

    1. I like the way each line is physically bigger than the previous. The double we is also excellent.

      1. (not joking, either. If it was a mistake, keep it in)

      2. New York Times didn’t want to publish it. Fuck. What do I do now?

  15. Where’s the mp3 version?

  16. I’d like to reply to this rhyme with one of my own. Maybe sadder but with a similar ending.

    Wherein “Lies” the Answer?

    As I set here at the keyboard,
    And think of things, today I saw.
    It reminds me now of something,
    I’m roughly Quoting: Bernard Shaw.

    “You surely must know someone,
    There may be 5 or 6.
    That if you set them down, and asked:
    My friend what makes you tick?”

    “As you set there and think real hard,
    Just how have you helped out?
    We’re asking you today to tell,
    There is no time to whine or pout?”

    “Have the things that you accomplish,
    Made ‘you worth ‘what you have cost?
    We’re running out of “green” resources,
    And must remember when they’re lost.”

    “There is no magic money tree,
    That keeps us well supplied.
    If you’re not doing all you can,
    It may be time you died.”

    “It may sound so very harsh,
    As we’re now asking you.
    But science has come up,
    With their solution too.”

    “There is a painless,
    And yet efficient gas.
    One long, deep, whiff,
    This moment too. . . shall pass.”

    “I didn’t say with one long whiff,
    You’d suddenly pass gas.
    I’m really saying, here so gently,
    Your life will soon be past.”

    “End of paraphrased quote.”

    I can imagine what you’re thinking,
    Where do these notions start?
    When we seek answers near the end,
    Each one must do their part.

    We’ve asked our government workers,
    To take some minor cuts.
    The Union Bosses looked at us,
    And said: ” You must be nuts ! ”

    We went then to the schools,
    Their budgets seem to grow.
    They were amazed that we could ask,
    With those little tykes all in a row.

    We went to Nations, near and far,
    And suggested we’d make cuts.
    They can’t live without our help,
    They’re living in a ‘hand-out’ rut.

    There are those poor and needy,
    Some living under concrete piers.
    How can we now, cut off the funds,
    And starve these innocent dears.

    Of course there are those “elders”,
    Some seem to live near poverty.
    They’ve all paid, long in advance,
    Now simply state, “Just leave us be.”

    Some said:” the Pentagon’s our mark,”
    It’s our budget, near a fourth.
    But even we, with hardened heart,
    Can’t short the U.S. Force.

    Of course the Politician’s,
    They could all afford to give.
    But here again the laws are such,
    That they may “privileged” live.

    Here my friend is where we’re at,
    So everyone must sooner die.
    So we can keep on, keeping on,
    Living as always. . .Some too high.

    But as you read tomorrows news,
    In days to come, when a shoe fits.
    Remember this, the answers plain.
    It will come down to this. . . .

    “You’re it.”

    Written by oldbuck, Jan. 8, 2011, Even before hearing the Pres. say: “An independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors NEED.”
    It may have put him in a rather dark and pensive mood, as Thomas Paine may have been, when he wrote in 1776 :
    “The American Crisis”.
    “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
    Some will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love & thanks of all American’s.

  17. Heresy!!!

    Hear me, O Spirit of St. John Maynard! BANISH these foul heathens!!!

  18. LMAO! That is classic. Dr. Seuss would be proud 🙂

    …still LMAOing

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