Day 259: Dull in Hull

Sergeant Charles Floyd, for whom the town of Floyd may or may not have been named, was the only fatality that occurred during the two-and-a-half-year Lewis and Clark Expedition. He died in Sioux City, Iowa on the trip out, apparently of acute appendicitis. Since they were touring in the vicinity, Laetitia decided to take her group to the Sioux City Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The center opened in 2002 to commemorate the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. Later they went to the Sergeant Floyd River Museum that has been in Sioux City much longer. Late that afternoon they headed over to Hull.

Hull, Iowa is an agricultural community of about 2,000, named after a local congressman. Laetitia found a happy hour and sat at the bar thinking about what to write for the day’s limerick. There was usually no shortage of folks at bars who liked to talk about themselves, and some liked to talk about their town as well. Today the man next to her wanted to talk about his nephew, who was a student in theater at Iowa State. He began, “It was obvious from the beginning that Clyde was very bright. He was an avid reader who often acted out the stories in his children’s books and drafted anyone in sight to play the other roles. When he was a teenager, his parents got a divorce, and there was no money to help him out with college. I figured he would never be happy living in this town, so I paid his tuition at Iowa State, hoping he could find a career that would take him elsewhere.

“He chose Theater Arts. He loves being in theater and is doing very well, but he’s always acting, even when he’s not on stage. When the local junior high school moved to a new building, the old building was torn down, and a lot of what was in it went into the trash, including the skeleton from the science lab. Clyde reclaimed the skull from the dumpster and now takes it with him for amusement when he goes to bars. When people ask about it, he says he playing the role of Yorick in Hamlet. If his listeners are savvy and know that Yorick is only mentioned in Hamlet and isn’t a character, he responds with, ‘Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him’ and the rest of Hamlet’s monologue.

“Sometimes he pretends to be a descendent of Dutch painter Franz Hals, who often painted people holding skulls. At others, he tells people that this is all that’s left of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. When someone pointed out that the Dorians were ancient Greeks who lived on Crete, he came up with a new claim that this is an ancestral relic from a Doric royal family and that he is obliged to carry around until his twenty-first birthday. He dropped the latter claim when a math student who was familiar with the Epimenides paradox quoted from the Epistle of Titus, ‘One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said the Cretans are always liars.’” Laetitia thanked the man for his story and wrote the limerick of the day.

When a student in acting from Hull
Went about, he would carry a skull
Which some thought was Yorick
Or some relic Doric
But it kept his life from being dull.