The Tale of Edmund Fitzgerald, The Man

Oh, that ship. That ship you've heard of before in song and story. That tragic ship swallowed by Lake Superior with 29 sailors. That ship that split in two and sank to the bottom of the largest lake on this green and grey, gold and blue, violet and silver continent. Tales have been told from Sheboygan to Duluth of that enormous freighter. We've heard those tales, but now let us hear of the man who was Edmund Fitzgerald!

The Mighty Fitz

If a fiddler is present they'll know the tune. A mouth harp, spoons, and an upturned bucket are also traditionally played.

There he is, that's Mighty Fitz
swimmin' 'cross our greatest lakes.
Calculates Death Benefits
as he rides tsunami wakes!
The Titan of Insurance,
who discovered King Tut's tomb,
planned for Active Participants
when he came roaring from the womb!

Mighty Fitz, that's Mighty Fitz,
fighting off the German Blitz!
Mighty Fitz, that's Mighty Fitz,
knows to increase term limits!

He swam out to the sailors
that cold November eve'.
Though the wind was gailers
every soul knew he'd retrieve
each last man upon that ship
despite those giant waves.
Of course he'd make the round trip
for the Mighty Fitz always saves!

Mighty Fitz, that's Mighty Fitz,
smarter than twenty Harrison Hagan Schmitts!
Mighty Fitz, that's Mighty Fitz,
knows Reinsurance Leverage bits!

Fitz's Forte

In a barn in the rural town of Mayville, The Mighty Fitz came blazing out of his mama like a thoroughbred stallion. As soon as his legs were under him he scrawled a basic, yet flawless life insurance policy on the barn wall for his dying mother. She signed her name as her breath slipped away, leaving the newborn's father able to pay for a lovely floral arrangement at the funeral. Days later he christened the boy "Edmund" knowing the boy would be a rich guardian.

At age five Fitz was writing life insurance policies at the local level from a stand he erected upon his lawn. He covered his small town of Mayville with policies well-regarded as premier in their quality, attention to detail, and ability to cover even the most derelict of individuals. At age ten he was slinging policies all across Sconi. From Milwaukee on over to Madison up to Solon Springs down through Dodgeville and right up into Tomahawk. He was covering the whole central region by the time he graduated head of a class of seven in 1934.

Fitz had grown in stature in both insurance and size. He had arms like cannons, legs the size of small whales, and a mind as sharp as a dastardly Frenchman's epee. His hair cascaded golden down his bison-like back. And boy, oh boy could that man fiddle! He could fiddle so ferociously he'd boil the rosin right off the bow!

The Feats of Fitz

After graduating, Fitz went to North Africa, as he'd fallen in love with the place as a boy. For the first three weeks, while he learned the languages of the land, his only nourishment was a hunk of moldy, stale bread. He was able to make sense of the common law of the area to bring some fantastic advancements in Annuitization Options. He lived in the somewhat recently discovered tomb of Tutankhamun, which he helped find in the first place.

As a lad, while deciphering original life insurance policies of ancient pharaohs, Fitz stumbled across an unfamiliar name, "Tutankhamun". He informed George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, whom he had met at a school carnival only three days prior, of his discovery. A few years later, upon hearing of George and Howard's successful expedition in finding King Tut's tomb, young Edmund was quoted in The Milwaukee Sentinel chastising the duo for failing to give him his share of credit. He simply said, "The kingliest of TUTS to my very good friend GEORGE, who would have you believe that HOWARD and HE made this discovery with no help from a then six-year old LAD." Thus, he also coined the nickname of King Tut.

Across the Sahara desert, Fitz wrote poetic Common Carrier policies for Bedouins passing upon dromedaries. Years later, one of his policies was read by Muhammad Al-Amin, eventual winner of the hit United Arab Emirates television program, Million's Poet. He drew up an Extended Replacement Cost index in the sands before the Sphinx, showing how simple it would be to fix that unsightly nose, which they did. Unfortunately, it was blown off again by a wayward Sherman shell.

Although the drum beat of war still escaped most American ears at that time, 1940 was a time of great action for Fitz. There were army men crawling all over the desert who needed quick coverage and someone knowledgeable of Mortality and Expense Risk Fees. Fitz made sure every one of the Allied boys on the line was covered by a sound insurance policy. If a soldier happened to go the way of lost souls, Fitz made sure the soldier's loved ones back home were well-covered for their loss. Axis soldiers attempted to reverse engineer Fitz's work, which was far more advanced than the outdated spit-and-a-handshake policies the Germans, Italians, and Spaniards used, but even the most gifted of policy engineers were stumped by his designs.

Freestylin' Fitz

After the war, Fitz hopped aboard a coal-powered steam ship to cross the Atlantic. In the midst of a whopper of a storm he fell overboard. Never taught how to swim, Fitz quickly figured it out and powered his way through heavy wake to catch the boat. After more than three days of tireless swimming, he managed to overtake the steamer. Spotting him bobbing in the water, a crewman threw down a ladder. Fitz scampered up, but when he set foot upon the vessel, he looked around and said, "Maa al salama!" With that, he heaved himself overboard again. He swam straight to The Gulf of St. Lawrence, through the river-way system down to Lake Ontario, over and across Lake Erie, up and through Lake Huron, and around and down Lake Michigan. Finally, Fitz arrived in Milwaukee to the thunderous applause of thousands!

His hard-working policy holders had heard of his heroism in Africa and his journey home. As he emerged from the water he asked a gentleman amongst the crowd for a pad of paper and a pen. Fitz went straight to work updating every policy of those in attendance. The crowd spontaneously rejoiced in song for their returned statesman! That very same song we still sing today.

Formidable Fitz

Upon word of The Greatest Insurance Man Alive's return, The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee WI brought him aboard. He'd swim The Lakes on his lunch breaks and return to break policy-making records that still stand to this day, despite the use of enhancements like computers and HGH in the insurance field.

He spearheaded unheard of and dangerous, labyrinthine policies incomprehensible to the normal man, but made simple when flowing from the tongue of Fitz. He dazzled every statesman, athlete, dancer, singer, and dreamer to walk through those heavy oak doors. So incredible was his work that Northwestern Mutual didn't hesitate when it came time to name their new ship. The ship lived up to its master's name by breaking every hauling record in every shipping manifest from Two Harbors to Oswego.

Fitz's Failure

Lightning crackled. Thunder rolled across the sky. The wind swirled in such incomprehensible patterns there was no leeward or windward. Everything was windward. Rain, sleet, and snow all formed into giant balls of hail that sent shock waves when they hit the ground. On Lake Superior waves the size of cathedrals rocked the SS Edmund Fitzgerald like the Basilica Block Party. The crew screamed obscenities while the aged, iron-ore carrier groaned from the battering of its lifetime. Fitz knew from the tingling in his toes that his namesake was in trouble.

He leaped from the balcony of his home and sprinted for the shore of Lake Michigan. He ran so fast his breath didn't have time to fog in the forty-below-zero cold. Snow and ice melted under his feet as he flew for the frozen lake. With a hundred-foot leap, and a dive that would have made Guy Fieri satisfied, his hands shatterred the ice covering the lake. He swam north east for Sault Sainte Marie!

Each powerful stroke of his massive arms propelled him through the water faster than a two-tailed walleye. Each flick of his legs caused waves the size of skyscrapers to rush out to either side. He would go minutes before sucking in a breath so bountiful his buoyancy left him skimming the water's surface. In only an hour's time he found the ship. What was left of the ship. The last remnants of that great ship.

The Mighty Fitz, Reprise

There he is, that's Mighty Fitz
coming back just as before.
But, though he's strong he insists
he couldn't win this war.
The weather was too brutal,
the ship had too much wear.
In the end it was futile,
though he did what none would dare.

Mighty Fitz, that's Mighty Fitz,
not quite fast enough, he admits.
Mighty Fitz, that's Mighty Fitz,
couldn't fulfill his commit's.

Though he made it to the spot
he was a bit too late.
The sailors gave it all they got
even in a frightened state.
The Mighty Fitz, he cried,
seeing that hulking ship asunder.
He shed manly tears of pride
as he watched that great brute go under.

Even the strongest can fail,
but that's not the final part.
What matters and does not pale,
is the effort inside your heart.

An entry for LieQuest 2013

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