Skipping Rhymes for Gen-Z, #2

Forget the Plague, the next gen has to process less-predictable horrors

HERE I AM, STILL UNDERCOVER at the Acme Prep School,

disguising myself with chocolate milk moustaches, playing with Dinky Toys at recess and praying the Grade Ones to Eights don’t notice.

The things I do for this blog! If I have to choke down one more packet of “Snackums” at lunch I may hurl.

I think I’ve got it pretty much under control, but I do have to squelch a tendency I have to answer the arithmetic questions too quickly. One more incident of my knowing the sum of 2 + 2 and I’m going to raise suspicion.

One precocious kid, named Becky, of course, is having none of it.

“What you were doing driving that car after school?” she said to me the other morning after we’d both awakened from our “Futons and Oreos” nap break. Becky has that annoying, smarty-pants-girl way of making you hear the italics. She lifted one quizzical eyebrow.

“Nine-year-olds aren’t allowed to drive like you said. I checked with my dad. And you seem to have reached puberty quite early.” She just stood there, hands on hips, looking, I swear to god, like she was a miniature version of Elizabeth Warren, and I was the Wall Street CEO.

I was all in a cold sweat, but luckily the bell rang for the start of classes. Becky flounced back to her desk, ready to overthink, colour her map well within the lines and stick her hand way way up so she could show off her smarty-pants-girl knowledge whenever Miss Sidor asked a question.

I’m outta here. Knowing when the party’s over is half the battle, after all. I have plenty of material. By the way, in view of my dedication to ethnographic field work, I kind of consider myself the Béla Bartók of skipping rhymes—just minus the primitive wax cylinder recordings.

Also minus the stout Bulgarian women fermenting goat’s milk and regaling us with toothless smiles as they hum incomprehensible ditties, about goats, in the Lydian mode.

I’m a member of the last generation to have a meaningful label — “Boomer,” meaning that we talk loudly and over everyone else. This minor tic provokes complaining from the more sensitive types, to which I reply, “If anyone had anything interesting to say, maybe we wouldn’t have to. Pass the apple-cinnamon-scented candle? Thanks! And Flower Power!”

Just as the children’s rhyme “Ringa ringa rosy, a pocket full of posies” transformed the unspeakable horrors of the bubonic plague into a delightful tea-time frolic for the wizened, hairy, toothless little adults that passed for kids in the fourteenth century, I’ve been uncovering skipping rhymes that serve to help this era’s fragile, hot-house crop of little sprouts process current events and make aspertame-coated sense of them.

I’m sharing this latest batch with you with just the one condition. If Gen Z will please agree, once you’ve made sense of them, to, ummm, tell the rest of us?

Never forget how good I am to you.

Skipping Rhymes for Gen Z (#2)


(Traditional, early 21st century. “Voting” was some kind of group ritual, I believe. Kinky! This must be the G-rated version.)

Voting rights are now abolished
No more wondering who’s in charge

With democracy demolished
We are all Madame Defarge

Bernie’s prospects weren’t too ducky,
Just his waking up felt lucky

(Votes suppressed count one, two, three
For gerrymandered POC)

Socialism people doubted
So, to make his point — HE SHOUTED

Wouldn’t vote, those fans of Bernie,
“Down the street’s too long a journey!”

After all it’s not a sin
to cast your vote for — sleeping in!

Voting rights are now abolished
No more wondering who’s in charge

Ballots lost, count four, five, six
By postal service run by dicks

Hours in line count seven and eight
For extra laughs, he’ll change the date

Stupidity remains systemic
While he bungles a pandemic

With democracy demolished
We are all Madame Defarge

No more Hillary and her email
Kamala is, still, a female

Nine, ten, eleven what does she lack?
The requisite degree of Black!

And yet another fatal flaw —
Her tendency to rule of law

Biden’s choice, such moral strength!
But don’t examine her at length

Ah well, it might as well be said —
At least she’s not as nearly-dead.

Voting rights are now abolished
No more wondering who’s in charge

Donald Trump’s beyond repentance
Count twelve lies in every sentence

States thirteen, of thee I sing
A president who thinks he’s king

Fourteen senators acknowledge
Nailing the Electoral College

In the room there lurks an elephant —

Soon ALL votes will be irrelevant.


traditional, Vancouver “Island” (former term for small landmass)


Climate change is global warming
See those super hurricanes forming

Think that levels one, two, three
Were maximum velocity?

Now feel the gale at four, five, six

And though your house be sturdy bricks
It might as well be built of sticks

Climate change is global warming

Western fires so dramatic!
(Obviously Democratic)

How many gallons from a glacier
As the polar cap gets lacier?

Eight billion nine billion ten and climbing
Half-past Doomsday is our timing

Ice bergs calving in a series?
Eleven new conspiracy theories!

Climate change is global warming

Thanks to oil our days now seem dark
In an underwater theme park

Count twelve hundred days from when
You wouldn’t listen to us then

And unlike those who called it “faked”
The planet now is fully baked.


Toronto, c. 2019; via Chimneysweeps’ Internationale.

Celebrate the gig economy
You can be whatever you wonomy!

Tinker, tailor, Uber, Lyft
Pick me up and make it swift

One minute order
Two minute wait
Put my foie gras on a plate

Three minute swallow
Four minute done
Indentured servitude is fun

AirBnB’s inflated rents
Will put the rest of us in tents

Foreign condo owners hoard them
Might as well —WE can’t afford them!

Celebrate the gig economy
Back at home with no autonomy

Six seven eight nine gigs on Fiverr
Fill the spare time of a driver

Ten short hours you worked this week
Those student loans are looking bleak

Part-time jobs? we gladly stayed for them

It’s just—we’d hoped we might get paid for them.


Tell us what you think. Keep it civil, yet interesting.