Tinny tune adventures

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One of the things I've discovered as a parent is that kids' stuff tends to play music--and I use that term loosely.  Whether it's a mutant stuffed animal or an infant swing, you can bet that if you turn a knob, squeeze it, jiggle its foot, or whatever, it's going to have the capacity to play a tinny MIDI tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It" or "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" ad infinitum, and you're soon going to start hearing these ditties on a loop in your sleep, maybe even accompanied by dreams that you're driving an ice cream truck... to Hell. 

I feel like the makers of these toys are perhaps conducting some kind of covert psychological testing on new parents--something like the Stanford Prison Experiment, where the prisoner-parents cease to remember who they are or why they're there, knowing only that they are hearing "It's a Small World After All" for the five hundredth time and maybe even starting to think they like it.  It seems the folks over at Sterling Cooper Fisher Price have become masters of the earworm, selecting only songs more insidiously catchy than "Chili's Baby Back Ribs" and more inane than "MacArthur Park."  And while I've already explored the beautiful dark twisted fantasy that is "Rock-a-Bye Baby," I'd be remiss not to mention a few other favorite toddler tunes that have some pretty messed-up messages.

"Alouette"--All about plucking the feathers off a poor lark (Big Bird?), body part by body part.  Second only to "Baby Bumblebee" as the theme song of animal torture aficionados and future serial killers.

"Oh My Darling Clementine"--A miner's girlfriend tragically drowns so he consoles himself by getting busy with her little sister instead.  With its incestuous overtones, a favorite folksong in West Virginia.

"Hush, Little Baby"--Don't say a word.  Because I'm going to buy you a series of inappropriate and ill-thought-out gifts, and when they all inevitably break, or die, I'll throw more money at the problem in hopes that you'll love me.  The ballad of the absentee father?

Lesson learned:
Cheer up!  At least there are "cigarette trees" to look forward to in "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," so it's not all bad.  (Well, until you're "buggered sore," that is...)

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1 comment:

  1. Surely there's few that can beat rock-a-bye baby in terms of infant mortality celebrated in song?