I was raised with some slightly unusual practices, a few of which I might have touched on here and there, like the bread or the ziploc bags . There was the books vs. television issue that left deep and lasting scars what with being the only person, the only one, who didn't see that 1980's television movie about how we were all going to die in a nuclear war and the teenagers were going to save the day. But perhaps the most lasting peculiarity was the inundation with obscure but frighteningly memorable pieces of culture.
Start with the folk songs. Oh, the folk songs. I can swing mindlessly from poor, POOR Clementine and her herring-box sandals right into the Gypsy Rover who (natch) ends up being a lord who just happens to hang out in forests whistling and then move on without a pause to announce that Today I will not only eat your strawberries (apparently without invitation) but also swig your sweet wine.
It gets worse though because I also have a bottomless store of truly horrible children's songs so the Peanut on the Railroad Track will probably evolve into one that is Found and causes Appendicitis. Lurking in the darker corners of my mind are also all the Smothers Brothers albums my parents owned and the full set of Tom Lehrer so I could take a sudden mental right turn and discover My Love has black as the color of her True Hair though her Tresses Are Red as a Rose (but only her hairdresser knows) and the next thing I know there's a slightly nasal voice warning me not to Drink the Water or Breath the Air. It's all most disturbing.
Any of these might work their way into my brain when its at its most vulnerable - in those early moments of the morning before I'm awake enough to really focus and drive them out. Unfortunately it often means I'm stuck with this nightmare sound track for hours at a time unless I can find something even more powerful to replace it.
It doesn't always happen like that of course, because there's the flip side to my bottomless store of useless memorized items. The poetry.
Not the stuff that might impress anyone. I do know some of that, of course, not that anyone has actually asked me to reel off Tiger-tiger-burning-bright-in-the-forest-of-the-night... at top speed or quizzed me on the songs and sonnets of John Donne. No, the majority of my mind appears to be taken up with endless couplets from A Child's Garden of Verse (a horribly patronizing title I always thought) or All the Silver Pennies.
So just this morning as I rode down to work I managed to recite the entirety of Ogden Nash's Custard the Dragon AND his Owl and the Pussycat all before I was halfway there, leaving plenty of time to get curious about how many other pieces of rhyming fluff were kicking around in the bottom drawers of my subconscious.
New Shoes, New Shoes (Red and Pink and Blue Shoes) wasn't really a surprise as it comes up every single time I buy footwear for the long suffering children, but I hadn't thought of Wynken, Blynken and Nod since I was old enough to find it offensive (about seven) so why can I still remember every word? How much really important information, like, say all those formulas the Children require for their math homework, has been tossed out as worthless while the complete Mr. Nobody is still there for the finding and I can tell you all about the Little Shadow That Goes In and Out with Me? Honestly, I think the poetry is starting to take over.
So I'm afraid that while I wanted to write a blog post, I really did, instead I've spent the day trying to remember the last verse to The Land of Counterpane.
Blame it on the ear worms.