Three, six, nine
The goose drank wine
The monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line
The line broke
The monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little row boat
Awhile back, I went to bed, turned on the television, set the sleep-timer, as always, and settled in to “watch the tv, until the tv watches me”, as I like to say.
Just as I was dozing off, a commercial came on about some random product or another…but the attention grabber was that old jump rope/clap ditty about a goose and a monkey. I remember chuckling to myself about that long ago, half forgotten nursery rhyme, as twilight sleep quickly overtook me.
I awoke the next morning, with that children’s ditty running through my head…but for the life of me, I couldn’t quite make out the words.
I wasn’t entirely sure at the time why it seemed so important to me that I should get the words right and it took me a month of trying to catch that commercial before I succeeded in capturing the whole thing.
The result was one of those, “AH HA!” moments that left me feeling as if I had just won an Olympic Gold Medal!
Go figure. It’s a children’s rhyming game, for Pete’s sake.
Anyway, later that day, there I was, practicing the words and that little hand-clap thing the little girls used to do back in the day, when I started to actually pay attention to what I was saying, and it hit me:
No wonder we never see little kids playing the old hand-clap and jump rope games anymore….the original words have been politically corrected to death and are no longer worth reciting!
I understand…I really do…that parents want to protect their children from the harshness of life. But really, sterilizing moral tales such as Aesop’s Fables, or rhymes like Ring Around A Rosie (for crying out loud…kids won’t know the history behind THAT one until they’re told!) isn’t so much protecting them from the tough realities of life, as it is denying them a chance to be well prepared for the small and large disappointments that come with human territory!
Better just to teach them the difference between fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and reality, mindless entertainment and learning stories instead. At least 3,000 years have come and gone with children all over the world learning from parables, with none of the stories being “prettied up”. When that happens, the stories…and the lessons they teach…lose their impact.
Here’s an analytical study and re-write for the adventures of Goose and Monkey, all for the sake of making the tale politically correct (according to some):
1) “Three, six, nine…” Obviously, these are referencing the so-call, “Perfect Numbers” in the Bible, best reserved for those politically INcorrect stories in the “Theological Myths” genre. Change them or drop them entirely.
2) “…the goose drank wine…” a: Fairytale-ish; misleading, an outright lie; b: What if a child thinks, ‘if it’s safe for a goose to drink alcohol, it must be safe for a kid.’; c) Think ASPCA, Humane Society and PETA. Need I elucidate? Change or drop it altogether.
3) “…the monkey chewed tobacco…” ‘if a monkey can use tobacco products, etc. etc….’ Change it or drop it altogether.
4) “…on a streetcar line…” Well, streetcars are dangerous…all that electricity…so the author MUST be trying to incite our young to suicide. Also, think ASPCA, PETA, etc. Change it or drop it altogether.
5) “…the line broke…” Acceptable.
6) “…the monkey got choked…” Too violent, too much death. Oh, and think: ASPCA, PETA, etc. Change it or drop it altogether.
7) “…and they all went to heaven…” ABSOLUTELY NOT! Falls under “Theological Myth” genre. Religious opinions and instruction (of the Judeo-Christian variety) are totally unsuitable for today’s child. CHANGE IT OR DROP IT ALTOGETHER.
8) “…in a little row boat…” Hmmm. Something a tad odd about that, but still…tentatively acceptable.
The rewrites for the ages-old children’s ditty now read:
One through ten, the goose drank water that is only tinged red because of a chemical reaction with a clay based river bottom, a monkey, having not yet been been rescued after getting loose from his veterinarian, was sitting inside a strretcar on display in a museum, chewing on an organically grown, non-GMO, banana. The streetcar’s rope (the one that keeps visitors at a distance) broke and the startled monkey nearly fainted. Both Goose and Monkey were rescued by PETA and were transported back to their native homes by boat…ummm…luxury liner.”
“1,2,4,5,7,8,10…In a little rowboat.”
Havin’ some fun now, huh?
Children learn best by stories. Sometimes, though, a ditty…is just…a ditty. BUT, if you must analyze….(stay tuned for “Is It Even LEGAL for a Goose to Drink Wine, Part Deux”!)