Indisputable fun of Mississippi mud
July 15, 2002
When the sun goes down the tide goes out
The people gather ’round and they all begin to shout
Hey, hey, Uncle Dud
It’s a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud
It’s a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud
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What a dance do they do
Lordy how I’m telling you
They don’t need no band
They keep time by clapping their hands
Just as happy as a cow chewing on a cud
When the people beat their feet on the Mississippi mud
[The following is an excerpt from “The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Beating One’s Feet Upon the Mud Surrounding the Banks of the Mississippi River,” a review of a treatise presented before the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research.]
UNCLE DUD: In conclusion, I believe that my data stands firm that it is in fact a treat to beat one’s feet upon the Mississippi mud. I will now entertain questions.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That was a very educational presentation, Uncle Dud, thank you. My question – Is it necessary to remove ones shoes before beating ones feet on the Mississippi mud?
UNCLE DUD: Absolutely. Otherwise the benefits – the ‘treats,’ if you will – are completely lost. There have been reports of those attempting to wear sports sandals or even flip-flops, but these are more a hindrance than anything.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What do you think of the recent theory that all of the shouting these people are doing after the sun has gone down is a result of their having contracted a soil-borne parasitic disease often associated with the unsanitary conditions of the Mississippi River? Like hookworm, for instance?
UNCLE DUD: (Sighs) As you probably know, this so-called theory is being offered by a former research assistant of mine. I realize that our recent falling out was quite a public spectacle, but it is without malice that I must tell you in my research I have found no evidence to substantiate this load of hogwash. I think the video presentation I showed at the beginning of my talk clearly revealed that the post-sundown shouting is in direct response to the sheer treat of the feet beating. Besides, not only does hookworm not make one shout with such ebullience, there would also be no rational explanation as to why one must wait until nightfall before expressing the unpleasant sensations caused by this parasite. Hookworm, indeed.
SAME AUDIENCE MEMBER: Interesting. And I have a follow-up question, if that’s OK.
UNCLE DUD: Go ahead.
SAME AUDIENCE MEMBER: Supposedly these people, the ones beating their feet, are happy as a cow chewing on a cud. That’s a bold claim. Are you saying that this happiness is due strictly to their beating of feet, and that there are no prescription anti-depressants involved whatsoever?
UNCLE DUD: Well, let me ask you a question – have you ever beat your feet on the Mississippi mud?
SAME AUDIENCE MEMBER: Well, no, of course not …
UNCLE DUD: I thought not.
STILL SAME AUDIENCE MEMBER: But I don’t see how that is …
UNCLE DUD: Look, how dare you imply that there are other agents at work here! Until you’ve personally pounded the mire with vigor and vim, you are in no position to … to … I’m sorry. Please … forgive me. I realize it is shoddy science to get this emotionally involved with a subject, but I just resent the implications of the involvement of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors in this case. Why is it so hard for the naysayers to accept that simply beating your feet is enough?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Uncle Dud, first I’d like to say that I have followed your research on this for some time and I truly appreciate the work you are doing in the field. During your PowerPoint presentation you indicated that this was not the first incidence of a people becoming so elated that they felt the need to eschew customary musical accompaniment and instead engage in their own percussive practices. What earlier evidence exists of this phenomena?
UNCLE DUD: Good question. The earliest evidence can be found in the following example: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. This is believed to be only a single generation removed from the Mississippi mud-induced euphoria, as the incantation later prompts one to stamp their feet. I have time for one more question.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Is there any way to purchase Mississippi mud?
UNCLE DUD: Indeed there is. Follow the links on my Web site and you’ll find baking pans filled with Mississippi mud available for sale. These 36-inch by 24-inch pans provide the perfect medium in which to beat your feet in the comfort of your home. Thank you very much for your time.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Shouting) Hey! Hey! Uncle Dud!
UNCLE DUD: Sorry, no further questions.
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