London Bridge keeps falling down
And that’s supposed to be comforting?
The London Bridge has fallen around me a lot lately.
You see, less than thirty days ago, I became an uncle. And when I did, I assumed the responsibility of taking certain measures to ensure the happiness and well being of The Niece.
Recently, I have been helping my parents watch The Kid while her mother gets some much needed rest. During this time, there’s been some wailing — fitful cries that can’t be solved with standard protocols. So The Uncle has to jump in with some non-standard remedies for crying relief.
And for this particular Kid, making that damn bridge fall over and over seems to do the trick.
Somehow, in the cacophony that is our musical tradition, we as Westerners have come to the conclusion that children take comfort in falling bridges, particularly those (formerly) located in Great Britain. So when The Niece belts out a scream, and diaper changes, bottle feedings and soft-sweet cuddling does not provide comfort, I turn to YouTube to make that bridge fall.
It’s absurd, this idea of structural devastation providing relaxation to nursery-aged youngsters. But as a tried-and-true London Bridge destroyer, I can attest to its working.
Perhaps this is some form of twisted British humor. I mean, we all know that British humor is, well, twisted by default. Any society that births the concept of a telephone-booth time traveling Doctor (Who?!) must be twisted.
But falling bridges for children seems to take it a step too far, don’t you think?
And what’s one to make of the multiple build-it-up-again attempts? Was this some kind of long-ago forewarning to The Trump about how he should build That Wall?
Mr. Donald, as a newly-formed expert in structural soundness, I can attest to the following: Wood and clay provides instability. Bricks and mortar tumbles in a seemingly endless cycle of earthquakes. Iron and steel bends and bows. So you’re probably going to need gold and silver, as it’s the only sturdy option offered.
I mean, Mexico is paying for that thing anyway.
But falling bridges aren’t the only options one has to comfort those screaming, wailing babies in your life. Let’s take a look at other diabolical musical selections society has devised.
Ring Around the Rosy — Because, you know, the idea of getting small pox (the tell-tale sign of which is the rosy-pink round ring on ones skin) and the stench of burning dead bodies (the “ashes”) being covered by “pockets full of posies” (a common practice in deodorant-free medieval society) is such a comforting thought.
Jack and Jill — Jack broke his skull, and Jill comes tumbling down behind him. (I hope their parents had Obamacare.) Oh, and to boot: the song teaches children that vinegar and brown paper is the cure-all for serious injury (for those on a budget and still without Obamacare).
Ladybug Ladybug Fly Away Home — The children have run away (except for one stuck under a frying pan), and the house is on fire. But hey, whatever it takes to make that little one smile.
Ok, so maybe it’s not all doom and gloom. After all, there are other options. Baa Baa Black Sheep contains no death. I’m A Little Teapot has no destruction. And the most harm Wheels on the Bus can do is give a quick bout of motion sickness from all that bumping around.
I guess that the ultimate lesson here is that caretakers will do whatever it takes to calm Little Johnny and Small Susie.
And if that means making that damn bridge fall one more time — so be it.