Today's Funny

A. R. M. ali at
Tue Mar 19 09:58:24 EST 2002

Driving Miss Sophie
By Dave Barry

Sunday, December 9, 2001

One of these days, a police officer is going to pull
me over for driving erratically. He will suspect that
I am driving while intoxicated, but he will be wrong.
In fact, I will be driving while being a little
teapot. I am often a little teapot while driving. This
is because when my 20-month-old daughter is in the
car, she demands to hear her favorite CD, "Traditional
Children's Songs From Hell." At least that's what I
call it. It's one of those CDs with those old songs
that we are required by federal law to expose our
children to, because they connect us with a time when
we were a simpler, happier, much stupider nation.

Consider "Old MacDonald." It starts out fine: "Old
MacDonald had a farm." But then it goes to
"E-I-E-I-O," as though the lyricist had a bunch of
extra vowels he needed to get rid of before moving on
with the plot. Couldn't he have come up with words for
the second line? How hard is it to think of a line
that rhymes with "farm"? For example: "Thresher tore
off his left arm." Or: "Slept with six goats to keep

But "Old MacDonald" is Handel's "Messiah" compared
with "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain," a song
apparently written by somebody with a life-threatening
case of Attention Deficit Disorder, as we see by the
highly informative first verse:

"She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes!

"She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes!

"She'll be comin' 'round the mountain!

"She'll be comin' 'round the mountain!

"She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes!"

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will she be comin' 'round the
mountain? When?

I am forced to listen to these brain-shriveling songs
constantly when I drive. I'm so used to hearing them
that sometimes I'll be halfway to the airport,
singing, "The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round, round and round," when suddenly it
dawns on me: Sophie is not in the car. I can play my
own music, with intelligent lyrics!

(Example: "I said na, na na na na, na na na na, na na
na, na na na, na na na na!")

The biggest problem with children's songs is that many
of them call for actions on the part of the listeners.
My daughter, who is very strict, expects everybody to
perform these actions. So if we're listening to "I'm a
Little Teapot," and she notices that I'm using my arms
for some frivolous activity such as steering, she will
repeat, "Daddy do it! Daddy do it!" until I let go of
the wheel and form my teapot handle and my teapot
spout. I have discovered that I can, in fact, steer
with my forehead, but visibility is a problem.

I am also forced to drive while doing the Hokey Pokey
and making the Itsy Bitsy Spider go up the water
spout. But the worst song, from a driving standpoint,
is "Where Is Thumbkin?" This is the one where you sing
about, and display one at a time, the various fingers
on your hand: Thumbkin, Ring Man, Pointer, etc. As you
can imagine, this can create misunderstandings in
traffic when your fellow motorists see you holding up
Tall Man. I live in Miami, a heavily armed area, and
I'm concerned that one of these days, some
stressed-out driver is going to see me displaying Tall
Man, and he's going to respond with: Trigger Man.

Yes, a small child can get you into trouble, and not
just in a car. There is a house in our neighborhood
that has a large plaster goose on the front porch. For
reasons known only to her, my daughter loves this
goose. Whenever we walk past it, she toddles up onto
the porch and gives it a kiss, while I watch nervously
from the sidewalk. Lately my daughter has started
insisting, with increasing vehemence, that I also kiss
the goose. So one recent Sunday morning -- I am not
making this up -- I found myself, heart pounding,
tiptoeing onto a porch belonging to complete
strangers, bending over, and kissing their goose. This
kind of thing can lead to trouble.

POLICE OFFICER: Hold it right there, mister! Put your
hands up and step away from that goose.

ME: You don't understand! I was just . . .

POLICE OFFICER: Wait a minute . . . You're the same
guy I saw holding up Tall Man on the expressway!

But getting arrested is a small price to pay for the
joys of parenthood. I know you parents out there
agree. You're happy, right? Sure you are! If you're
happy, and you know it, clap your hands!

I'd clap with you, but it hurts, with these handcuffs.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

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