We learned how if the ship goes down you
Can make a life-preserver of your shirt
By taking it off and slamming it down onto
The water with the air inside so the shirt
Bubbles up and then you can hold onto it.
If you don’t have a shirt you can do
The same thing with your pants by
Taking your pants off and then you
Trap the air in your pants as described
Above to form the pants life-preserver.
If you have neither shirt nor pants
You can make a life-preserver out of
Your hat by slamming your hat onto
The water as described above to
Make yourself a hat life-preserver.
They said if you fuckers are going
To grab for your crotch we want you
To do it here and not when the ship
Is burning and actually a few fellows
Just as there are names we mustn’t speak,
Questions to remain unasked, proscribed
Mentations, even downright hilarious jokes
That ought never be told whether at the
Water cooler or in a duck-hunting blind,
Yes, that’s all well and good but when
You slip up (as you will) bite your tongue,
Spit three times over your shoulder and
With whatever heartfelt sincerity you can
Possibly muster say, “Feh! Feh! Feh!”
Is it a perfect solution? No. But at least
You’ll not be cast into outer darkness.
We never missed You Bet Your Life,
Groucho’s quiz show, my father and I
Awaiting the secret word no matter
How week after week that word was
Unspoken until at last the $100 duck
To spontaneous applause descended.
But enough of that. The strange part
Was one night riding with Groucho
In an elevator, he in a French beret
And accompanied by a much younger
Woman, how as Mitzi the dachshund
Approached him he was so frightened
With none of the sarcastic aplomb
We associated with him, Lou and I.