My Uncle Mort’s telephone is almost always warm, mostly due to the heat generated from his hand held firmly against his cheek, wherein is a jawbone that’s almost always yakking. 

Maybe that assessment is a bit harsh, but when the old duffer’s comments have been clocked at 150 words per minute with gusts to 200, you’ll get no argument here. Count me among the dozens of people on his “call list” who feel compelled to answer, if only out of curiosity.

He kicked off the new year with what he described as a “phone warning” about the danger of spending too much time worrying about walls. Before he finished, I was humming the Statler Brothers’ old hit, “Counting Flowers on the Wall.” You remember it, of course, the one about “playing solitaire ‘til one with a deck of 51.”…

*****

“I’ve been ‘studying up’ on walls,” my uncle began. “If you want to take on a topic that’s bound to add ‘muddle’ to a mind already ‘muddled,’ be my guest. Walls have been used for centuries both to keep people out and to keep people in. And in some cases, it took centuries to build ‘em. Recorded history hasn’t helped much to determine whether walls are good things or bad things.”

He claimed that there’s so much material about walls, it can lead to the “hurting of hair, the crossing of eyes and even turns to other political parties.”

What got him started, of course, is the brouhaha in Washington, DC, concerning President Trump’s insistence for construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico….

*****

Mort believes that even with full funding and the employment of most modern construction techniques, there’s “no way” the wall will ever be more than a “bump in the road” when compared to great walls in history.

“The Chinese set the standard no other country can ever reach,” Mort claimed. “They started their ‘Great Wall’ seven centuries BC, and they had many ‘starts’ and ‘stops’ before winding it up in the 19th century AD. And, the exact number of construction years still is being debated.”

Best I can tell, he’s right about the arguments. About all I can add is that multiple centuries, many dynasties and much manpower led to construction of one of the Seven Wonders of the World…..

*****

I think I can better contribute to “wall conversations” by offering a frame of reference more easily understood.

Admittedly, a fly on the wall might well have a better understanding, whether studies include walls dating back to Biblical times, or the one proposed today for our southern border.

For comparison’s sake, let’s limit discussion to the proposed wall and another provided by a Mother Goose rhyme. I refer, of course, to Humpty-Dumpty’s experience with walls….

*****

Like Humpty, we’ve arrived somewhat suddenly at “wall talk.” We really don’t know how Humpty-Dumpty--a figure described by a kindergartener as a “real egghead”--ascended the structure.

In the rhyme, the story begins with his sitting there, then falling.

It is suggested that it wasn’t a “Jack and Jill” kind of fall, but indeed a “great fall,” the kind that cracks both noggins and eggs….

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What to do? The “rhymester” in jolly Old England opined that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men--try as they did--took a “SHELLacking.”

Putting Humpty-Dumpty together again was well above their pay grade.

American citizens, of course, generally feel that they have little more than an “ifs/buts/candy/nuts” understanding of the proposed wall. We do know that if the king’s horses--as well as his men (and women) are called--many of them may “call in sick” unless assured of being at the top of the list for payment as soon as the government shut-down ends. It may be a while before we learn if we’re to live happily ever after....

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Dr. Don Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments/inquiries to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.

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