The tally machine

Sunday, October 28, 2018

It's nearing the time of year again when ladies and gents dawn fancy dress and celebrate All Hallow's Eve. Not to be left out, this column is again in its own fancy dress just to add a bit of seasonal fun. For once, I was fairly prepared. It took some shower singing and some early morning note jotting, but I think this column — at least at first glance — could pass for the later handy work of a founding member of the Quarrymen (you may know the name John Lennon). So, after I grab a military surplus jacket, straighten my hair a bit and get some distinctly round frames for myself (sorry, John. I'll not shave the beard), I'll see if I can't create something with the distinct Beatles “flavour.” It's no "Imagine" or "Let It Be." Think more "I am the Walrus" or "Nowhere Man" (I'd say "Savoy Truffle" which, as fate would have it, was recorded 40 years ago this month, but that was George's work).

Two — Three — Four ...


With their blue or red pen,

they'll turn out again

to fill in completely

the ovals so neatly.

Then they'll step to the spot

it drops through the slot,

'cause they want to feed the tally machine.


All the 99 squares

will mark which is theirs

and best all the others,

their sister and brothers.

They carry the planks

in step with their ranks,

'cause they have to feed the tally machine.


When the day's at its end,

the workers will send

the numbers and tags

in baskets and bags.

They'll march through the door

and count them once more,

'cause they've got to feed the tally machine.

C'mon Johnny Q!

(Guitar solo)


Yeah! The tally machine,

efficient and clean,

will say who has won

but, when it's all done,

the people still grumble.

Tell next time, they'll rumble.

They can't wait to feed the tally machine.


No! They can't wait to feed the tally machine.

We all want to feed the tally machine.