The Common Good
January 1994

Ask Mr. H'rumphs

by Ed Spivey Jr. | January 1994

Well, that's some magazine so far, eh? Malevolent global corporations, the bleakness of Nicaragua, and the Holocaust. What is this, National Public Radio? I've seen more laughs in a jar of ...

Well, that's some magazine so far, eh? Malevolent global corporations, the bleakness of Nicaragua, and the Holocaust. What is this, National Public Radio? I've seen more laughs in a jar of mustard.

By the way, where is my jar of mustard? You can't keep anything out in the open around here. In this office, "sharing the sojourn" means losing half your doughnut to hungry office mates. And don't ever turn your back on a bag of Doritos. The only way to eat chips in this place is to slice a tiny slit in the underside of the bag, secretly remove one chip at a time, and then chew very, very quietly. Passersby think it's an unopened bag. Hah! Fooled 'em!

But I digress (you 're welcome). Let's get back to the serious and important stuff with the Nabob of Knowledge, your Man With the Answers:

"Ask Mr. H'rumphs"

Go ahead, Omaha.

Thanks for taking my call, Mr. H'rumphs. I'm a quality control analyst in Omaha and my question is: Why is there a poetry page in Sojourners magazine instead of, say, a column on quality control analysis?

Poetry is a very popular part of Sojourners, as indicated by the tens of letters we've gotten about it over the past 22 years. But as an enthusiastic and almost annual reader of poetry, i don't see what's the big deal. i mean, is it good writing, or just bad typing?

New York City, you're next.

Yes, Mr. H'rumphs. Can you tell me why your office mate occasionally makes chicken noises?

Ace editor Julie Polter makes chicken sounds (technically known as "bawking") as a stress reliever, particularly during deadlines.

Specifically, she "bawks" 1970s pop tunes, such as "We've Only Just Begun" ("Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk") or "Tie a Yellow Ribbon, 'Round the Old Oak Tree" ("Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk, 'Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk Bawk"). Her favorite is "Feelings" ("Bawk Bawk").

Psychiatrists claim this technique works well in stress-filled environments, such as an office where people make chicken noises while you're trying to work.

Go ahead, Memphis.

Thanks, Mr. H'rumphs. I've really been wondering why...

Wait a minute! Memphis is headquarters for Federal Express, right?

...why, yes, but...

Well, FedEx absolutely positively lost the computer disks we were sending to the printer last month and we almost missed the press deadline for our December issue!

Cleveland, you're next on "Ask Mr. H'rumphs."

Thanks. Love your show, but not as much as I love Star Trek. I really love Star Trek. I can't stop thinking about it. Star Trek has got to be the greatest....

Boston, you're next on "Ask Mr. H'rumphs..."

Say, you're sort of an expert on the Bible, right?

That's correct.

Well, I just read through the entire New Testament, and I can't find Waldo anywhere.

Get some rest, my friend. Albuquerque, spell it and you're on the air.

A-L-B-E...no wait...A-L-B-U-R-C...no. Can I start over?

We interrupt this program to bring you a true special report from the Houston Space Center: Just moments ago, shuttle crew members successfully decapitated a rat in space.

This important experiment is being enthusiastically applauded by American scientists because...uh, well, we're still not sure what they were trying to prove. Shuttle astronauts were unavailable for comment on this unprecedented gravity-free procedure, but they no doubt would have said, "Well, it just sort of floated up for a while and looked kinda gross 'n stuff. Guess we should clean up now."

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director of Sojourners.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)