At the sound of a loud crash, the Baudelaire orphans frantically search for Aunt Josephine but she’s nowhere to be found. Yet, they later find a note at the grammar library door and the glass on the wide window shattered. The note is filled with grammatical errors she would’ve never made but it suggests that Aunt Josephine threw herself out of the wide window and put the kids in the care of Captain Sham, which is horrifying for obvious reasons. And as with their last 2 encounters with Count Olaf, there’s really not much they can do about it. Even if Aunt Josephine wasn’t of sound mind at the time, they have Mr. Poe in charge of their affairs which basically demonstrates how great their parents were at estate planning. Because if you want your assets protected in a touch fund and your children placed in a good home, Mr. Poe is totally not your man. Seriously, you’re better of entrusting your affairs with a tree stump.
Perhaps Neil Young’s “Helpless” can describe their feelings at this point since as far as they’re concerned, they’re screwed. However, the original version touches on Neil Young’s childhood memories that aren’t so pleasant either. At 6, Young came down with polio which was a devastating disease that caused muscle paralysis. Before Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, a polio outbreak would often cause places to close because everyone was afraid of catching it. Lucky, Young survived. Ten years later, Young’s parents divorced, from which Neil would stay with his mom but his brother Bob went to live with his dad who later remarried. Yet, the song is bittersweet since he had fond memories of growing up in a small town that made dealing with his troubles all the more easier. Now while the Baudelaires aren’t dealing with polio or family break up, their troubles at this point in the book make them feel helpless.
“Helpless” (ASOUE Version)
Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire
Aunt Jo jumped from the wide window
And left us three in Captain Sham’s care
Who is Count Olaf
I just called up Mr. Poe
Told me he’ll soon be here.
Why don’t we just destroy the note?
Omit the part causing strife?
Why leave us with this guy?
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Helpless, helpless, helpless
Siblings, can you hear me now?
Poe may be kind
But he’s a useless tool
Yet, we’ve no choice anyhow.
Count Olaf is very much at large,
Remains a threat to our lives
When he appears in his disguise,
No one listens to our cries.
Helpless, helpless, helpless.