Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Apr 16, 2013

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Greetings, update readers.  I have just discovered, and now wish to share, the following facts:

A "paddywhack" (combined with the "knick-knack" in the children's song "This Old Man") refers to a strong elastic nuchal ligament or tendon in the midline of the neck of sheep or cows, which relieves the animal of the weight of its head.   It a tough fiber, thought to have once been used in Britain as a disciplinary whip on children; a "paddywhack" is a spanking.  

If you find this disturbing, I urge you to stop reading, for this will only get worse.  We are about to enter the depraved dungeon that is the song itself.    

First, "one" and "thumb" do not rhyme.   Neither does the most common variant,  "drum."    "Bun" was available to the creator of this song -- but as we will see, an image of a foodstuff or an old lady's gray hair did not meet his perverse needs.  This had to be about children, and their bodies.

Second, as the father of a veterinarian, I can assure you that giving a dog ten bones in the space of two minutes is highly irresponsible.  It amounts to animal cruelty. (Or is it possible that a different sort of "bone" was being administered?)

But most alarming is that in an era of rampant child abuse, allowing an old man to "play knick-knack" on parts of one's body is a recipe for disaster; in fact, it might well provide a cover for an old man intent on mischief to propose an action he defines as "knick-knack" -- the mind reels in discomfort -- and justify it with the song.

If you have any doubts about the latent evil in this song, I urge you to watch this youtube video, in which The Old Man is presented as a senile old fool -- face frozen in a vacant leer -- doing God Knows What to the young female protagonist.   The action portrayed in verse three is almost indescribably lewd; where his gaze falls, and why he has positioned himself thus, can be reliably surmised.

In verse five, the old man plays knick-knack on the child's "hive."   Do you know any children with a "hive"?   Nor do I.   Can this possibly be metaphorical, referencing something else that is roughly triangulate in shape with a hole at the bottom?  I will say no more.

In verse seven, the Old Man briefly enters Heaven to do his knick-knacking mischief.  Somehow he returns -- presumably as the undead --  in verse eight, only to assault the young singer's front gate.  He is coming for her, and reaches her by verse nine, where we are informed that he is now all over her back, knick-knacking her SPINE. 

There is no online representation of this song that does not show evidence of both senility and sexual depravity.  In this one, for example, in the very first verse, as the singer is clearly informing us that the Old Man is playing knick-knack on her "drum," we see him inanely knick-knacking her thumb.  In this particular version, the Old Man rolls home on a unicycle, but the seat is clearly jammed way up between his buttocks in an anatomically improbable -- and inevitably painful -- way.    He is smiling as he rides.  

I am sorry to go here, but this sort of sick perineal masochism reminds me of the original Old Man, Albert Fish, who derived pleasure from inserting needles into sensitive parts of his body, and also turning himself into a human cigarette lighter by placing a gas-soaked cotton wick into a tender orifice, and lighting it afire.  Oh, yes, Mr. Fish also killed and ate children.   He probably first played knick-knack with them.

All that is implicit in this terrible, terrible song. Please spread the truth about it.   Thank you. 

See you next week in the updates.

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
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