John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:

Poet's Corner: Henry the Accountant

Henry the Accountant

(Sung to the tune of "John Henry")

Henry was an accountant.
He worked with a pencil in his hand.
If you had something you needed added up, then
Henry the Accountant was your man, Lord, Lord,
Henry the Accountant was your man.

When Henry was a little baby,
Sitting on his daddy's knee,
He picked up a crayon and a little piece of paper, and said
"Two plus one equals three," Lord, Lord,
"Two plus one equals three."

The man who bought the first calculator
He thought he was mighty fine.
He walked up to Henry with a sneer on his lip and said
"Your job is gonna be mine, Lord, Lord,
Your job is gonna be mine.

Henry stood up and drew his weapon,
He said, "A man isn't anything but a man."
"We'll have ourselves a race and I'll put you in your place or
I'll die with my pencil in my hand, Lord, Lord,
I'll die with my pencil in my hand.

So each man grabbed a fifty-pound ledger.
And Henry went to work with all his might.
Though his hand was getting cramped and his shirt was getting damp, still
He swore that he would not give up the fight, Lord, Lord,
He swore that he would not give up the fight.

After three long hours of battle
The man with the machine had moved ahead.
He had Henry beat 'til on the final sheet
Suddenly his batteries went dead, Lord, Lord.
Suddenly his batteries went dead.

So Henry beat that calculator.
Now his powers could never be denied.
But the terrible strain had been too much for his brain, so
He laid down his glasses and he died, Lord, Lord.
He laid down his glasses and he died.

So they buried Henry in the graveyard
With his trusty pencil and his pad.
And when their checks don't clear they always shed a tear
For the last human being who could add, Lord, Lord,
The last human being who could add.

Paul Kaplan (b. 1948)

I heard this on the other day, and was highly amused. Equally amusing in a different way is that the President's Council on Bioethics included the song in one of their publications, Being Human, "an anthology of works of literature that speak to bioethical dilemmas." Why the President's Council on Bioethics saw fit to issue such a publication is a bit of a mystery to me, but I suppose it's a better use of their time than pretending they hadn't all made up their minds about stem-cell research before being appointed to the Council.

Tags: poet's corner

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