Of course we jumped into a tub just as fast as we could. If you have ever smelled a rotten potato, you know why we wanted to clean ourselves up without delay.
What happened was, there is this farmer named Peter Pumpkin Eater who grew a humungous pumpkin so he and his wife would have a place to live. She was so proud, she bragged about it whenever she came into town to sell her pumpkin pies.
"My Peter," she would say, "can grow vegetables big enough to live in."
"How about a big tomato?" someone asked.
"I'm sure he could," Pauline said, "but it would be awfully squishy."
"How about a big onion," someone else said.
"I'm sure he could," Pauline said, "but it would smell up the town and bring tears to everybody's eyes.
"Well," said Hans, the butcher. "How about a big potato? Potatoes are not squishy and they won't smell up the town and bring tears to people's eyes."
"Okay," Pauline said. "I'll ask Peter to do it."
We didn't think any more about what Pauline had said until fall, and then one day Peter and Pauline showed up with a wagon carrying this really big potato with big greenish eyes all over it and a crusty-looking brown skin. It was as high as a couple of people are tall and as wide as maybe three people lying head to foot. They unloaded it in the town square, and for weeks folks came from all around to look at Peter Pumpkin Eater's big potato.
But then came winter and snow and frost. The outside of the big potato grew darker and darker, the eyes lost their fresh green look, the skin began to wrinkle.
And then the first warm days of spring came and people started crossing to the other side of the street from the potato because it was beginning to smell so bad. Finally, by April, people were staying away from town altogether because of the potato stink, and Hans, the butcher, and Arnie, the baker, and I—I make candlesticks for a living—got pretty worried. That stinking potato was driving away all our business.
So we borrowed a team of horses and some chains and started to hitch up the potato so we could drag it out of town where it could stink all by itself. I backed up the team, Hans climbed on top of the potato, and Arnie looped the chain around it and tossed the ends up to Hans to fasten together. But the weight of the chain was just a little too much. The old weathered skin on the top of the potato gave way, and slurp! poor Hans sank out of sight into the gooey innards of the rotten potato.
"Quick," said Arnie, "we've got to save Hans!" And he climbed atop the potato and slurp! he sank into the goo alongside Hans. I had to do something to save them and, you guessed it, slurp! there I was over my head in the gooey insides of the rotten potato.
Well, with three of us in there and the potato being only two guys high, it didn't take us long to heave Hans up and out, and he quickly took his butcher knife and cut a hole in the side for the other two of us to escape through. And there we were, standing in the sunshine in the middle of town up to our ankles in a spreading puddle of rotten potato goo, surrounded by people holding their noses and going "Oof!" "Ugh!" "Phew!" "You guys really stink!"
And that's why the three of us were in the tub with soap and scrub
brushes going rub-a-dub-scrub just as fast as we could.