Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

It was raining. Maybe it was also pouring—I’ve never actually seen rain pour since “pour” is an intransitive verb and as far as I know rain doesn’t even have hands it could use to hold a container from which it could pour something, and what would it pour anyway?  I’m pretty sure the only reason anybody says rain is “pouring” is because of that old children’s song:

It’s raining, it’s pouring,

The old man is snoring.

So the “pouring” probably only got in there because it’s a convenient rhyme to go with “snoring”, and if the song left off there I’d be willing to let it go—it’s a nice image of an old man sleeping through the rain. Then it takes a sudden, weird, and very dark turn:

He bumped his head and he went to bed,

And he couldn’t get up in the morning.

What’s going on here? At best the old man has major depression that’s preventing him from getting out of bed, but it sounds more like he’s suffered a concussion and possibly even has a subdural hematoma. Either way why are we letting children just sing about it when somebody should be getting this old man some help? I mentioned this to a friend of mine who agreed it’s pretty terrible but added that it’s not as bad as the song about the old man who played two on your shoe, and three on your knee, and, um, six on your appendix and then goes,

With a nick nack paddy whack

Give a dog a bone,

This old man came rolling home.

My friend believes the old man gets punched hard enough to send him flying, but my counterargument is that we don’t know that’s why he goes rolling home—for all we know he’s a gymnast and likes to roll around, or he takes a bicycle or even a penny-farthing, because he’s a brave and hip old guy, and also a dog gets a bone, so there’s at least some karmic balance there. The fact that my friend assumes there’s violence involved makes me wonder if I should keep a closer eye on him. However we can agree that in the first song “pouring” and “snoring” don’t rhyme with “morning” and “bone” and “home” don’t rhyme and if you’ve ever seen Educating Rita you know the definition of assonance is “getting the rhyme wrong”, but that’s another story.

Where I was going with this before I got sidetracked by the horror of children’s songs is that it was raining as I left work and there was a bus right across the street. It was absolutely perfect timing, especially since it was a bus going my way. I’d driven to work that day but the parking garage was a few blocks away, and the bus would take me, if not right to it, then at least closer, and would get me out of the rain. So I ran across the street, to the bus, and, as I was getting on, bumped by head on the door frame.

It was the afternoon and I stayed awake and had no trouble getting up when the bus got to my stop.

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  1. The Huntress915

    Said Credence Clearwater Revival….and I have seen the rain and felt it’s humidity afterwards, ugh. But your post made me ponder about children nursery rhymes and who in the world comes up with these? Your right about the old man not wanting to get out of bed, wtf? But mostly almost all nursery rhymes are about some sort of violence or getting hurt? Little Miss Muffett, that spider? What about Humpty Dumpty and falling off that wall? Children’s nursery rhymes and stories are quite dark if you stop to look at them as an adult, but as kids we think of them as funny. Does that mean kids are sadistic? What the hell is going on here? lol
    The Huntress915 recently posted…I’m Stressing Y’all!!!My Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m not sure kids are sadistic but the adults who came up with most nursery rhymes certainly are. I didn’t think of it before but you’ve reminded me of that old Simpsons cartoon, back when they were still just filler on The Tracy Ullman Show, where Marge sings to Maggie “When the bough breaks the cradle will fall…” and Homer tells Lisa to pray “If I die before I wake…” and he tells Bart “Don’t let the bedbugs bite” and the kids all freak out and can’t sleep.

  2. Arionis

    Well I’m glad you were able to get up to write this post.

    How about this one?

    “Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
    Upstairs and downstairs in his night-gown,
    Rapping at the window, crying through the lock,
    Are the children all in bed, for now it’s eight o’clock?”

    I’m thinking people in Willie’s neighborhood might want to check the sex offenders registry.
    Arionis recently posted…Humor In UniformMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      And then there was Monty Python’s jokes and novelties salesman who went door-to-door selling a Wee Willie Winkie with a life-sized winkle, guaranteed to break the ice at parties. That one’s bound to get people calling the authorities.

  3. Kristine Laco

    I hope you are ok. With a history of concussions in this house, every head bang rings more than a bell, it rings panic. Take care of yourself.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      So far things seem to be WHOA BIG DOGS JUMPING ON MY FACE just fine. I appreciate your concern, though, and I know with your history not just of concussions but accidents in general it’s best to be careful.

  4. Tom

    This was awesome, Christoper. ?

    I’ve always assumed the old man lived downhill from where all the knick knack paddy whack stuff was going on and he rolled home inside an old tire with his dog barking and running behind him. I think the old man was just more playful in my memory.

    But as long as we’re talking about childhood tales that disturbed me, how about the one about the old lady that swallowed the fly and then starting swallowing bigger and bigger things to go after the thing she swallowed before until she finally swallowed a horse and was dead (of course). That one freaked me out for YEARS!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I like your idea of the rolling old man being so much more playful. The song does make him seem like a pretty playful character too, since he’s playing all that knick knack paddy whack.
      And I’d completely forgotten about the old woman who swallowed the fly. In fact I’m not sure I knew she swallowed a horse and was dead of course, although I feel like it serves her right. What the hell did she think even swallowing a spider?

  5. SkyeEnt

    I always think of it as someone pouring the rain, rather than it pouring itself. It certainly seems that way sometimes. Apparently the scots have over 100 terms for rain http://scottishsceptic.co.uk/2014/11/28/scots-more-words-for-rain-than-eskimos-for-snow/ My favourite is ‘dreich’.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s wonderful that the Scots have over one hundred terms for rain, and it makes sense. I’ve been to Scotland and seen just a handful of the varieties of precipitation y’all have there. There are unquestionably times when the expression “coming down in buckets” seems more literal than figurative.

  6. Ann Koplow

    With you, the trip is even better than the destination. Love how you roll, Christopher.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I love how merrily we all trip, or roll, along.

  7. Anonymous

    Fascinating how we’ve adopted the “pouring” word for such an inane reason! Now I’m going to question myself every time I use it. Funny post! ?

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that you’ll be questioning the use of “pouring” from now on. I think I’ll be questioning it myself.


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