Isaac Asimov's Ridiculous Limericks

Portrait of author Isaac Asimov taken in 1978 at an unknown location. (AP Photo)
Portrait of author Isaac Asimov taken in 1978 at an unknown location. (AP Photo)

Isaac Asimov made eerily accurate predictions for how the world would be in 2014 -- he anticipated, for example, our ability to "see as well as hear the person you telephone." More impressively, he asserted that, “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence."

If this, coupled with his imaginative and beautifully-crafted Foundation series, weren't enough proof of his genius, here's more: In addition to his immense body of scientific work, fictional and non-, he's written books upon books of... dirty limericks.

Yep, the same man who sagely stated, "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom" also sat down to craft the following poem, published in 1975 in the volume Lecherous Limericks:

There was a sweet girl of Decatur
Who went to sea on a freighter.
She was screwed by the master
-An utter disaster-
But the crew all made up for it later.

Asimov has stated that this was the first limerick he ever composed. In the introduction to the book, he dissects what makes a successful limerick, writing, "The humor should be vulgar and should deal with actions and words concerning which society pretends nonexistence -- reproduction, excretion, and so on. This is not an absolute requirement, and you can, indeed, have "clean" limericks... Clean limericks, however, lack flavor, like vanilla ice cream or pound cake." The "vulgar" or dirty limerick, on the other hand, "has its value because to the humor of rhyme and the challenge of metrical rigidity it adds the relief of release."

He went on to publish More Lecherous Limericks, Still More Lecherous Limericks, Asimov's Sherlockian Limericks, Limericks: Too Gross; or Two Dozen Dirty Stanzas, A Grossery of Limericks, Isaac Asimov's Limericks for Children and Asimov Laughs Again: More Than 700 Favorite Jokes, Limericks, and Anecdotes. So, the dude liked limericks. In fact, he invented the word "limericist" to describe himself. Here are a few, which he has described as vulgar, but not gratuitously so:

An Olympian lecher was Zeus,
Always playing around fast and loose
With one hand in the bodice,
Of some likely young goddess,
And the other preparing to goose.

A young teacher from far-off Bombay,
Turned down a request for a lay
Nicely couched in a note,
Since the fellow who wrote
Had spelled "intercoarse" with an "a."

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