Something I wrote for something I had to write recently. It's hard writing for a definite audience. For me... writing is like taking off your clothes. You can't do it when you know someone's watching.
Ah childhood. That wonderful time of life, when life is full of rainbows and pink unicorns and cotton candy. When dreams could become real, and reality is filled with chocolate and other cavity inducing sweets. A time so innocent that, repeating Peter Pan, “You’ll never grow up!” But hark!
Innocent, you say?
Are you sure?
What marvels a bit of investigation reveals! It has been brought to light that for years now, what has made up a significant aspect of our childhood, aka nursery rhymes, contains the contaminated taint of adulthood. Innocent no more, rather our poems have been defiled with sexual innuendos, death and perverted imagery, all with the backdrop of soothing melodies. Though it does add an interesting outlook in retrospect when we’ve matured to adulthood.
Let’s retrace. Everyone remembers Rock-a-bye, Baby, right? It’s a lullaby. About a baby hurtling down to his death in his cradle. Does your teen have suicidal tendencies? Well, now you know why. Images of violence continue throughout the pages of nursery rhymes books. Recall the old woman who lived in a shoe. “She had so many children she didn't know what to do! So she gave them some broth without any bread, And she whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed!” Tough love, some would call it.
Then, there’s ye olde tale of the collapse of the London Bridge! The playful rhyme, Ring around the rosies, is actually based on the calamity of the bubonic plague in England in the 1600s. “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down” is a reference to the ashes from the infected bodies that were cremated to spread the plague for spreading. Gruesome. But hey, your five year old loves it.
Finally, who can forget the infamous tale of Jack and Jill? First of all, I don’t know how many of you have ever heard of a well on top of a hill. From what limited knowledge I have on such matters, people usually live in valleys close to the water source so that they avoid the impossible task of building a well to tap into an underground water body that doesn’t form on top of a hill. So then begs the question… what were they doing on top of that hill? More specifically, causing them to both to fall down? I heard Jack broke his crown.
A moment of dawning realization.
Disease, sex, death, violence… Themes that would seem reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, not childhood nursery rhymes. But there you have it. The truth in all its twisted, ugly glory.
And don’t even get me started on Scooby Doo.