According to viking legend, mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?…… Or was that the advocacy of songwriters Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston?…… I best research that before posting.
Anyhow, regardless of who came up with the adage, on a writing foundation course I recently attended this maxim was among debate subjects. During this discussion, a student (who for anonymity I’ll call Cleethorpes) stated his belief the dictum above was ground breaking commentary on marginalisation, spite and demographics for oat ingestion.
Although most students didn’t see any particular deep message in these nursery rhyme type lyrics, the Wakefield man argued the prose related to the topic of isolation. Claiming it told of unnecessary lamb oppression for them not conforming to the oat eating indoctrination of the masses. The proletariat symbolised by the bullying mares and does.
Personally, I thought Cleethorpes was looking too deeply into this platitude, hijacking it for his own use. Misguidedly embarking on a personal crusade against those whose spite doesn’t allow for the inclusion of those who spurn the decreed mainstream. Despite no indication of lamb oppression within the lyric.
Regardless of his off the wall advocation, though, I’ve got to admit feeling this erstwhile rudderless man’s personal take on the adage was deeply profound. I didn’t agree with it, but admired him for having the guts to put his head above the parapet to express them.
As this ordinarily reserved man’s confidently bequeathed his thought-provoking oration****, lecturer (George) and fellow students listened attentively while he highlighted the evils of ostracisation of some who don’t conform.
**** – Cleethorpe not Jesus
Rising from his seat, I assume to make himself seem more imposing to his audience of peers, he fought the corner of the minority/isolated by quoting Mark Twain’s advocacy that “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
As his enlightening rant continued apace, Cleethorpes voice inexplicably turned louder and more confrontational. This irascible behaviour extending to thumping of desks and asking the lecturer “Who the hell are you looking at?!”
George was clearly not comfortable at the behaviour of his idiosyncratic class member, in particular the aggressively posed question of “Who the hell are you looking at?!”…… His brow perspiring profusely, he asked ‘Cleethy’ to conclude his analysis of the topic; before politely asking him to sit down.
This request only led to an escalation of Cleethorpes’ anger, causing him to unnecessarily and incomprehensibly vent “Who are you to tell me to sit down?….. The last person to do that is now propping up the Stone of Magnahees!”
As this stone was unknown to George the lecturer, search engines Google, Bing and most probably even clever sh**e writer Stephen Fry, it was a threat leading to classroom confusion.
Student eyebrows, as well as Cleethorpes blood pressure, were being raised at this point. In addition to heads being shaken at this impasse between lecturer and student, furtive looks aplenty were exchanged between classmates.
Mercifully the unsavoury incident concluded shortly on the arrival of conflict mediation facilitator, who told Cleethorpes if he calmed down he’d let him keep his negotiation megaphone, bulletproof vest and a Toffee Crisp.
Do mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy? I’ve no idea, but on that particular day Cleethorpes ate a slice of humble pie and a Toffee Crisp.