The Ecphorizer

A History Lesson
Dave Kirby

Issue #15 (November 1982)

Many thousands of years ago, there was a cave couple named Ork and Gung (Cyril Ork and Letitia Gung) who had a son named Mmff. This was an odd name, as it didn't follow the customary naming system, which consisted of throwing a bone, or anything handy, up in the air and using whatever sound it made when it came down as the child's name. "Plop," "Krankle," and "Ouch" were common names in those days (especially the latter, in crowded caves). How Mrnff got his name was this: One day Gung said to Ork, "Ork, goo habba tung; wassa komina waawaa from immy nooks?", which translates as , "Ork, you have a way with naming things; what shall I call this squirmy, noisy thing I just discovered in my fur knickers?" To which Ork replied, of course, "Mmff." This can be translated as "As any fool can plainly see, I have my teeth embedded in the neck of this sabre-toothed tiger, who would gleefully return the favor if I gave him a chance, so if you can't help out by picking up a rock and bashing his brains out, at least refrain from being a pain in the ass by standing around asking pointless questions, there's a dear."

From this interchange we can infer three things: They didn't have much in the way of weapons in those days, other than teeth and rocks; their simple language had at least as many subtleties and nuances as our more elaborate tongues; and the interior of Gung's "nooks" must have been simply beyond contemplation, even for those with strong stomachs.

Years passed. Weapons were developed. Mmff became a stalwart young warrior. He carried a flint dagger, which he called "Shivv," a stout club, named "Emmwun," and his mother's skivvies, sealed in an oilskin bag. By then they were twenty years riper, and their presence must have been truly awesome. A number of other warriors carried fermented nooks as offensive weapons, to be used only as a last resort, of course. As a matter of fact, the cave council was debating the question of banning the use of nooks as weapons, considering them to be inhumane.

Oh, yes, there was government of a sort by then. The chief of the tribe, or "Furrer" (because he owned the most furs), lived in the main cave and ruled with the aid of a cave council of elders. An interesting note concerns the succession of the chief: If the Furrer were killed or incapacitated, the member of the tribe whose speech was most garbled was expected to rush to the main cave, declare "Hom chodge," and rule until the reduperated chief or the rightful successor kicked him out. This self-styled interim ruler was called the "Alhayg."

One day, catastrophe struck. Mmff and some buddies were engaged in a friendly game of grab-ass in their communal cave when, no one knows how, his oilskin bag split and his mother's nooks fell into the fire. The resulting cataclysm vaporized everything inside the cave and turned it into a perfectly symmetrical funnel lined with smooth volcanic glass. Outside, a cone of destruction extended for three miles, annihilating all plant and animal life, with the exception of a skunkasaurus on the perimeter of the swath who went mad with lust and embarked on a rampage of rape, chalking up 47 conquests until he tried it on a sabre-toothed tiger and was terminated with extreme prejudice.

Immediately, all the survivors in the community gathered outside the main cave, chanting "No nooks! No nooks!" The cave council forthwith passed a resolution banning all future use of such "doomsday weapons." All the warriors who carried them disposed of them right away, perhaps breathing a sigh of relief as they did so. Peace, prosperity, and the Neanderthal way of life were restored.

Thousands of years passed. During the middle ages, castles were thought to be the ultimate protection. Then someone laid siege to one and it was demonstrated that they could hold out only so long, until their supplies of food and water ran out. So castle-builders made a point of including a source of water, and space to grow food, in their plans. And the siege-layers started hurling dead horses over the walls with catapults, inducing disease, revulsion, and despair among the inhabitants. So the residents set up burial sites and work crews in advance to deal with that tactic. Time after time, stalemate was reached, broken, reestablished, broken again, and so on.

Then there came on the scene the infamous Baron Giscard d'Mmff, who deduced that he could bring a castle to its knees more quickly, while using smaller, more portable catapults, if instead of throwing entire dead horses into the courtyard, he ground up the rotting horseflesh lest and packed it into compact balls, which he could then hurl in great numbers to saturate the compound. Then came his most fiendish idea: He mixed with the nagburger the seeds of the nux vomica tree, which made the mess even more noisome and which contained strychnine, poisioning the burial crews inside the walls. His soldiers had to wear protective clothing while dealing with this horrid stuff, and he lost more than a few to carelessness. It usually took only one or two barrages of this nasty combination before the castle gates opened and the denizens surrendered, pleading "No nux!, no nux!"

There was one notable exception: One inhabitant, Gustav the Gross, instead of being sickened, went mad with lust and embarked on a rampage of rape, scoring 47 attacks before his fellow citizens loaded him into a catapult and flung him over the wall into the camp of d'Mmff, where he landed smack on the evil baron, killing them both. Following this, no further uses of the baron's diabolical mixture were recorded.

And so, time after time, history repeats itself: the barbaric Nookis tribe of central Africa, performing unspeakable acts with dung-smeared bamboo stakes; Nazi Germany's dreaded Nuchs Division, embarking on a rampage of rape through eastern Europe; the unimaginable Noukhs of the Sahara, about which the less said, the better. And finally, in our own day and age, here in America, amid the growing spectre of holocaust and utter annihilation, with the proliferation of atomic weaponry besetting us on all sides, the anguished cry once again is heard:

"I want my mommy."  

Admiral Dave Kirby of the notorious annual Sloughs and Booze Cruise writes, in his spare time, for Tandem Computers.

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