When I was eleven years old I bought a book of limerics. It was full of the usual:
"There was a young lady from Ryger
Who rode with a smile on a tiger
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger"
Which was memorable and funny enough. As was the one about the man from Devizes with different sized ears (children's version). But the limeric I found funniest of all (inducing a face streaked with tears, a sore throat and stomach cramps) was the only limeric in the book which wasn't actually a limeric:
"There was a young man from St. Bees
Who was stung on the arm by a wasp
When asked 'Does it hurt?'
He replied 'No it doesn't,
I'm so glad it wasn't a hornet!'"
I found this hysterical. Which says much for my sense of humour, I guess. (Who else do you know who introduces the gecko tattoo on her shoulder as 'Bernard'?)
The limeric no longer induces tears of mirth (at least, not sober - after a sniff of chardonay it is anybody's guess). And I have to confess to you that when I started writing this post I wanted to give everybody a chuckle at what I thought was the best limeric in the entire world. But on typing it I couldn't even raise a titter. So you are all effectively off the hook. (And by that same token, I guess so am I)
And then I re-read the limeric again and was hit by a deep (no, really) and astounding (I promise) insight.
Isn't this limeric one of the greatest examples of gratitude, ever?
I think I have found my new mantra, to be quoted at all times of distress, pain or disappointment. As they strap me in to my tight, white coat, you will hear me mumble "I'm so glad it wasn't a hornet"...