Friday, January 22, 2010

The Monster Song

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. -Beethoven
Our soul is composed of harmony. –DaVinci
No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. –Billy Joel

The two musicians and one artist/inventor/musician I quote above have one thing in common: none of them have heard their son sing the third verse of The Twelve Days of Christmas repeatedly during a two-hour car ride. I have. I’ve also heard the theme from Pokemon season 3 sung nonstop for an hour and a half and the chorus of Elmo’s Song sung off key from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Music is a form of torture not covered under the Geneva Convention. When our government was trying to extract information from alleged terrorists, they tried waterboarding, hypothermia, extreme confinement, starvation, dehydration, and throwing them repeatedly into a plywood wall. Nothing worked, until they started playing the soundtrack to Barney and Friends.

Music is a constant war between yourself and your children. Children sing a lot. They sing at dinner. They sing in the car. They sing at bedtime. They sing until you’re ready to rip your own nervous system out through your nose. Sadly, that’s the only solution to the problem. None of the normal methods of punishment (shouting, time outs, threatening to buy all their clothes off eBay) can be used because in the United States we consider music to be something akin to religious freedom. If you stop a child from singing, you will be labeled a bad parent for life.

Accept the fact that there is nothing you can do to stop your children from singing. Or is there?

I have stumbled upon a subtle method for curtailing my children’s singing: the Monster Song. Whenever my children start singing Jolly Old Saint Nicholas or whatever blood-curdling song they’ve learned in school, I start singing this:

The monsters, they’re going to eat the boys.
They’ll eat them up and then they’ll play with their toys.
They’ll chew them up, they’ll spit them out,
and then they’ll fix their tile with grout.
The monsters, they’re going to eat the boys!

I only have boys, but I composed the following ditty for those of you whose children have that pesky “extra X chromosome.”

The monsters, they’re going to eat the girls.
They hate the fact their hair is filled with curls.
They’ll chew them up, they’ll eat and crunch, because that’s what they do for lunch.
The monsters, they’re going to eat the girls.

So, next time your children start singing something painful, sing the above song in a creaky-grumbly voice. If your kids complain (and if they don’t, you’re doing it wrong) just tell them that they can sing anything they want and you can sing anything you want. That’s the rule, but if they stop singing, you’ll stop singing.

Then enjoy your peace. Or, if I may quote one more time:

Music is easiest to enjoy when it's too quiet to hear. -Matthew Kagle

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