There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in A Shoe, But She is Fine & Her Kids Are, Too

Hi Folks! When not busy blogging here (and lecturing, and writing non-blogs), I run a humor contest in the magazine The Week. My question is usually a wacky twist on something in the news and last week I was fed up with that pre-school TV show in England that had tinkered with the ending of Humpty Dumpty. Remember? Worried, I think, that their little viewers could not handle the shock and horror of Humpty’s actual fate, the show changed the ending to, “All the kings horses and all the kings men/Made Humpty happy again.”

So my Week contest asked readers to come up with another nursery rhyme with a new ending suited for today’s supersensitive, easily traumatized kids. Here are the fantastic results, below. If you want to see more contests from The Week, click here and then keep clicking, “For the results of last week’s contest” when you get there. My contest has been running for almost a year, so there’s a lot of fun packed in there!  Have safe, educational fun! — Lenore


Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her lightly baked fish.
Along came a spider, who sat down beside her, and said, “What a heart healthy dish!”
Robyn Sharretts, Danville, PA

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do
She asked a producer, who was in the know
“If I have octuplets, can I get a show?”
Lianne Kuboi, Honolulu

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very, very good.
And when she was bad, she had her iPhone taken away from her.
Mary Walker, Ocean City, NJ


Little Jack Horner sat in a corner
Eating a non-denominational winter-holiday pie
He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum,
And said, “I have an unhealthy relationship with food that causes my obesity.”
Bill Muse, Seattle

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
But faced foreclosure, didn’t know what to do
She appealed to her banker to lend her a hand
Now she sleeps on a flip flop out in the sand.
David Sorenson, Green Bay, WI

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John
Went to bed with his britches on
One shoe off and one shoe on
That’s why she divorced you, John
Helen Kontis, Fort Lauderdale

three men who can’t marry each other in a tub.
Cathy Curtis, Finksburg, MD

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
In this mortgage market, you probably will, too.
Michael Plittman, Pittsburgh

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife would eat no sweet
When they added a pilates class
Their bods were hard to beat.
Bobby Schackow, Gainesville, FL

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider who sat down beside her and discussed his lactose intolerance all day.
Pattie Vespereny, St. Louis, MO

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, drinking her soy-based whey.
Along came a spider who sat down beside her and said, “Hey, did you get my latte?”
Marion Law, San Diego

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider who sat down beside her and asked if she’d had a nice day.
Adrienne Hochee, Mountain Center, CA (and others, similar)

This little piggy went to the doctor
This little piggy stayed home
This first piggy got H1N1
The other little piggy got none
Now all the little piggies cry, “We…we…we don’t know what to do!” all the way home.
Peter Savigny, White Plains, NY

Three blind mice, see how they run!
They all ran after the farmer’s wife
Who’s practiced opthamology all of her life
She restored their sight with a laser knife
Three vision-corrected mice
Nancy House, Nashville

There was an attractive, middle-aged woman who lived in a condo with a view
She had a fulfilling career and 2.1 children, too
She cooked them organic meals and homemade bread
She was their best friend, n’er a harsh word said.
Danielle Tallman, Litchfield Park, AZ

Tom, Tom, the piper’s son
Stole a pig and away did run
His lawyer could offer no defense
For this was poor Tom’s third offense.
Lois A. Dorschel, Hawthorne, NV

Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle rips free
But baby is perfect and wins a tro-phy.
Daisy Michael, Westminster, MD

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep
And can’t tell where to find them.
Leave them alone and they’ll come home
With their GPS to guide them!
Gail Noren, Fayetteville, GA

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To fetch her poor dog a bone
When she got there, the cupboard was bare
So they ordered a pizza by phone.
Gene Hosey, Mechanicsburg, PA

It’s raining, it’s pouring, TV’s getting boring
The satellite’s gone, HBO is done and we can’t TiVo till morning.
Norma Herrera, North Bay Ridge, FL

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home!
Your house is paid off and your children are grown!
Mary Holz, Nipomo, CA

Jack be cautious, Jack slow down
Jack walk ’round the candle in your flame retardant gown.
Vicki Brownell, Blairstown, NJ

I’m a little hedge fund, short and stout
Here is a sure bet, do not doubt
When I get in trouble, hear me shout,
“Tip me over and bail me out!”
Marv Toyer, Carlsbad, CA

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry
Until one spoke to Georgie’s mom.
Then he was grounded and missed his prom.
Miles, Judith, David and Valerie Klein, Frisco, TX

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and sued the town
Jill installed plumbing thereafter.
Roberta Rathbun, Goleta, CA

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack sat down and looked around
Jill texted, “c u L8r!”
Julie Pilat, Los Angeles

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
From that day on they had it done
By one who’d crossed the border.
Tom Sheppard, Flat Rock, NC

…Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill sought pre-treatment approval from an in-network provider
Then carefully and safely walked down the hill,
As their policy limit was one such lifetime occurrence.
Warren Scrivani, Raleigh, NC

….Jack fell down and broke his crown.
But Jill stood by him during the press conference.
Ramon Presson, Franklin, TN

Outrage of the Week: Humpty Dumpty SAFE???

Dear Readers: Cracked! That’s what the folks are over in Britain where one of the BBC’s kiddie programs (created for children with special needs but a big fave with all the under-fives, apparently), is teaching the kids that Humpty Dumpty did indeed sit on the wall. And he did have a great fall. BUT all the kings horses and all the kings men somehow “Made Humpty happy again.”

And not in tasty omelette form!

Good God, are we SO AFRAID for our children that we think they will be traumatized by hearing of an egg that broke? Are they going to have flashbacks the next time they see a piece of French toast? Are our kids more fragile than the eggs themselves?

Bigger question: Why do we think we are HELPING our kids by assuming that a nursery rhyme that delighted several  hundred years’ worth of children is suddenly too much for this current generation to bear? 

And wait’ll the kids hear about Little Red Ridinghood!! (I’m sure she and the fox will open an organic bakery together.) — Lenore