Tales of Nonna, doomsday and scary rhymes

Here’s the thing about watching the news: I hate it. I’m not kidding.

In fact, as I may or may not have mentioned 8 zillion times, I refuse to watch it much anymore.

Particularly, I am avoiding those awful 24/7, round-the-clock channels, reporting continuously of the gloom and doom that is our existence.

To hear them tell it, it’s pretty much the “end of the world as we know it” — as indie-rock group REM warned us in 1987.


Honestly, Rapid Eye Movement (yes, that’s what it stands for in science AND rock ‘n’ roll, apparently?) had nothing on my beloved little Nonna. Heck, well before the REM boys were even alive, my paternal grandmother told us the same thing.

Every day. Several times a day. Incessantly. Seriously.

I can still hear her, my tiny but-tough-as-nails little Nonna (she stood at about 4-foot-11 and never weighed more than about 100 pounds her whole life) saying, “This is the END of the world!”

Unfortunately, she issued the warning so frequently that we all sort of stopped paying attention to it. It was sort of a Chicken Little situation.

Come on, don’t tell me you don’t remember the little fowl who went around screaming, “The sky is falling!” all the time? He was, how can I put it, doomsday obsessive.

It wasn’t much different for Nonna.

Some of us (and by that, I mean my Dad), would even tease her relentlessly for the 411 on earth’s demise.

“No kidding. Really, Ma? When, like, tomorrow? Because if it’s tomorrow, I’m sleeping in!” was a typical wisecrack from Pop.

This he did incessantly and for one reason only: to drive her nuts. Pop was bad that way. He had a wicked sense of humor.

And without fail, every single time he did it, Nonna nearly blew a gasket. She was convinced that the world had become some horrible, soulless, immoral place.

Hmm. Now, I’m not saying that I agree with her… and I’m not saying that I don’t. What I AM saying is, only the Big Guy upstairs knows our fate.

Yet that hasn’t stopped many of the humans from acting like they know details of how this big blue ball might stop turning one day. Shoot, we’ve been doing it for centuries. The biggest offenders are — nursery rhyme authors! Check out these children’s limericks:

1. “It’s raining; it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He bumped his head on the top of the bed, and couldn’t get up in the morning.”

Um, is he actually OK or was it lights out for good for the poor snorer? Did he EVER get up???

2. “Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater, had a wife and couldn’t keep her. So, he put her in a shell, and there he kept her very well.”

Is it me or would Peter be in jail in 2022?

3. “Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetops, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.”

Let the record show, I NEVER sang this to my or anyone else’s baby. EVER!


When it comes time for me to sing to babies again, I’ll stick with the one I sang to Kyle most: “Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.”

Kimerer is a columnist who believes Disney World IS the happiest place on earth. Contact her at pkimerer@zoominternet.net.


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