False Hippo Intelligence

The Maker: So what do hippos eat?
The Husband: Hippos are herbivores. That means they eat grass and river weeds and stuff.
Me: And fish, they eat fish.
The Husband: They do not eat fish, they’re herbivores.
Me: They DO eat fish! Remember the poem? “See the handsome hippopotamus / Wading on the river-bottomus / He goes everywhere he wishes / In pursuit of little fishes / Cooks them in his cooking-potamus / ‘My,’ fish say, ‘He eats a lot-of-us!'” Remember that poem?
The Husband (after a stunned stare and a protracted silence): So, you’re saying that some Ogden Nash funny-animal poem for children is your authority on this?
Me (indignant): Well, it’s published, it’s not like I read it on the internet.
The Husband (pointedly): An Ogden Nash poem.
Me: I’m pretty sure it’s true. But maybe I should Wiki it.

Afterward:
Okay, they’re herbivores. And it was Joanna Cole (who also authored the Magic School Bus series of children’s books WHICH WE BELIEVED), not Ogden Nash, who wrote that misleading yet wonderfully memorable poem. I actually googled “hippopotamus, river-bottomus” but got zero results. Zero! I don’t know what the world is coming to. I had to go look up the poem in an actual book.

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One Response to False Hippo Intelligence

  1. Pete Harter August 1, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    this actually helped me get the information I wanted on that old poem!

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