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.

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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