A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

13 June 2007

Nursery Crimes

I think I'll go and sue my elementary school, Mother Goose, and those incredibly morbid writers, Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm. Why? Perhaps on some strange subconscious level they are responsible for any depression I'm feeling...or will ever feel.

"Oh, but you're over exaggerating" you are collectively saying. Well, then, let me just give you a little back history on my wonderful "growing up" care-free happy days of yore...

But first, yes, there's always a reason behind why we think of things...don't let anyone tell you there isn't. I was doing things around the house and singing gleefully out of tune like I always, always do, when something in my head harkened back to "The Farmer in the Dell"...and WHY exactly was it that the poor cheese had to stand alone? Was it Limburger? So, I, being silly, asked my daughter just that, who, to my dismay, never heard of this well-known ditty we always sung and played when I was in Kindergarten. Who can't forget ending up being that pathetic little cheese? Rather like being the last one called for kickball or always being the first one "out" when you played dodgeball...and never winning Musical Chairs. Dodgeball, skinned knees and overly depressing songs...ah, the wondrous memories of my youth.

I scurried over to the computer and brought up Google to see why exactly that cheese stood alone, I mean if Google isn't going to have it, no one will. But, alas, it was just a bunch of silly conjecture and I didn't get a real answer. Perhaps I was overanalyzing it all...but wait...then it dawned on me: We sang some pretty darned depressing songs...and my daughter never sang them. Is it because they've all been phased out of school because they'd get sued nowadays if they sung them? Well, if I had to sing about drownings and death...well, by golly, she should, too! In fact, as my daughter commented, "Wasn't your favourite song from school that "Molly Malone, cockles and mussels, ghost wheeling a barrow" one? Why, yes, yes indeed. Back to Google we went.

So, we had a grand time singing songs that formed me from a nice happy-go-lucky child to the person I am today, a cynical overly-depressed hypochondriac. Oh, c'mon, I'm joking here! But take a look at some excerpts from songs and passages from poems and stories that are to blame (I'll include a clickable link in case you wanted to see them in their entirety). And, yes, we did indeed sing and read these...all before third grade.

Cockles and Mussels

She died of a fever, and no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
But her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!
Alive, alive-O! alive, alive-O!
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!

My Darling Clementine

Ruby lips above the water
Blowing bubbles soft and fine
But, alas, I was no swimmer
So I lost my Clementine

My Bonnie

Last night as I lay on my pillow,
Last night as I lay on my bed,
Last night as I lay on my pillow,
I dreamed that my Bonnie was dead.

And let us not forget those kindly nursery rhymes...

Ding Dong Bell

Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy's in the well!
Who put her in?
Little Tommy Green.
Who pulled her out?
Big Johnny Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To drown poor pussy-cat,
Who never did him any harm,
But killed the mice in his father's barn!

There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread.
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

And don't get me started on the REAL version of The Little Mermaid and the sick, sick, sick story of The Little Match Girl, let alone Hansel and Gretel. Talk about the stuff that nightmares are made of. And you know what else freaked me out as a kid? That little prayer that goes... "If I should die before I wake???" What AREN'T you telling me here, Mom???

Lastly, I don't buy the "false" claim on the history/origin of this one, but I'll include it...I'll always think it was about "The Black Death". Anyway, again, this is just another testament to how we sang songs of horror...and you know what? We LIKED it! But, sssh...don't tell my lawyer that.

Ring Around the Rosey (Rosie)

1 comment:

  1. "Ring Around the Rosey" IS about the plague. The first line is about red circles that would appear on the skin and turn into rather nasty sores. "Pocket full of poseys" referred to carrying some flowers around with you to stick your nose in when walking past a house with unattended dead people. "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down" refers to the practice of burning plague-infested houses (with or without bodies), as no one would ever live in such a place again. So, "ashes, ashes" is about the fire, and "we all fall down" is about the frame of the house collapsing as it burned to the ground.

    Yes, it's a lovely children's song, isn't it? But it was ORIGINALLY a children's song, invented as a teaching song so kids would remember what to do & what not to do.

    Also, turnip greens taste nasty.