Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Children's songs are evil

“It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring. He bumped his head, went to bed and didn’t wake up in the morning.”
That is one of the time-tested rhymes children have been singing for years. In fact, my daughter was singing it the other day because it was raining.
It got me wondering what kind of sick puppy decided to make a children’s song out of some guy’s untimely death.
“Did you hear about Bill? He took a whack to the noggin, went to sleep and never woke up.”
“I did hear about that, and you know what - I think that would make a great children’s song. Untimely deaths just beg to be turned into rhythm and rhyme.”
So poor Bill – someone’s dad or grandpa or something – died a tragic death and this clown decides it should be immortalized forever in song, and not just any song, preferably a song that is sung mostly by small children because who else is better to cheerily sing about the work of the Grim Reaper than an innocent child.
However, I understand the song has been edited in recent years with a better ending. Instead killing off poor old Bill, the new version goes “and he didn’t wake up until morning.”
And he is no longer called “the old man.” From now on Bill is referred to as the “age experienced gentleman.” It doesn’t have the same pop, but it is politically correct.
All this got me thinking about other popular children songs that millions of people, my self included, used to chant without giving much consideration to what was actually being said.
“Rock-a-bye baby on the treetop, when the wind blows the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks the cradle will fall and down will come baby cradle and all.”OK, first of all who is the nut bar putting their kid in a tree in the first place.
“Better come quick, Crazy Martha put her kid up in the tree again.”
“Again? Are you serious? I tell ya if the wind kicks up that tree’s gonna rock and before you know it down comes baby, cradle and all. Actually that might make a good children’s song, because what can be more fun than placing a small sleeping child atop a tree in a wind storm? Write that down, will ya.”
Where was the child protection agency through all this? They didn’t call her Crazy Martha for nothing. Perhaps it was hubby who was a couple crayons short of a rainbow.
Maybe it was Crazy Murray who decided tree-top sleeping arrangements for the kids would be loads of fun, especially on blustery days.
Either way, I have never put a sleeping child in a tree, nor have I seen a sleeping child in a tree and if I did, I would call the fire department and the police and I would probably never think to write a song about it.
This song is also traditionally sung to children to lull them to sleep and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced the person who wrote it was the first person on earth to tap into subliminal messaging.
It wasn’t so much a song, as it was a warning. It was probably around 3 a.m. and our song writer had been up for hours trying to get the little one to quiet down and go to sleep.
As sleep deprivation started to kick in she got a little loopy and started mumbling something about “If this kid doesn’t go to sleep soon I am sticking him in a tree.”
The harried parent puts the thought to song more for her own guilty pleasure than an actual threat, but even at the young age Junior hears “baby” and “treetop” and thinks, “Maybe I could just go to sleep and take this up with mom in the morning.”
It works. The kid goes to sleep and mom (I assume it is mom because dad would have gone to bed hours ago) finally gets to go to sleep herself.
The next night, Junior starts fusing and mom thinks, “The song worked last night, I wonder….”
A couple versus later and Junior is fast asleep. Mom realizes she is on to something and shares her story with every mother in the village.
Soon all the children are sound asleep by bed time – they are all terrified of trees – but they are sleeping.
And as everyone knows, a rested mom is a happy mom and a happy mom means a happy home.
So maybe the song isn’t as bizarre as it would first seem. There appears to be a method to the madness.
What we need now is for a modern songstress to come up with something that would get the kids away from the TV, the computer, the Playstation…..

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