Wheels on the Bus

Book #1 in the series: Heretofore Innocent But Secretly Terrifying Children’s Stories

Here’s a question for all you parents and teachers who spend literal hours of your life singing this song to your children: did you know it’s secretly a tragedy? Don’t believe me? I can prove it. Let’s just parse it line by line to see the slow, terrible progress of our rolling catastrophe-to-be.

“The wheels on the bus go round and round. . .”
Yes, yes, we know what this means: the wheels are spinning as they roll on the road. Moving on. . .

“The doors on the bus go open and shut, open and shut, open and shut. The doors on the bus go open and shut, all through the town.”
Here’s the first hint of bad things to come. Those doors are opening and shutting with disturbing frequency. There are lots of people getting on this bus. Sounds like it might be crowded.

“The driver on the bus says ‘Move on back’. . .”
This corroborates our impressions from the previous line. The driver only has to tell people to move back when the bus is crowded — standing room only — and there are so many bodies that they’re bulging past the yellow line. It’s now clear that this bus is dangerously overcrowded.

“The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish. . .”
It’s raining. So now we have a dangerously overcrowded bus ambulating in the rain, two extremely distracting factors for our driver.

“The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep. . .”
This line is key. When have you ever heard a bus driver honking her horn? The song tells it like it’s the most natural thing in the world, but this virtually never happens. Unless there’s a clear and present danger on the road. Unless, maybe, there’s about to be an accident!

“The babies on the bus go ‘wah, wah, wah”. . .”
Yeah, babies crying, right? It used to be sort of confusing: why do babies on a bus just automatically cry? Is that a thing? Well now we know babies on a bus DON’T automatically cry. They’re crying because the bus driver had to suddenly swerve and has lost control of the bus. Maybe on a bridge or something, and they’re going over the side. It’s obviously a very scary situation that is causing these babies to cry. Babies don’t just cry because they ride a bus. Babies love riding buses! Seriously, one of the only times my baby DIDN’T cry was when he was riding a bus!

“The mommies on the bus say ‘I love you’. . .”
You probably know where I’m going with this one, a little thing called “last words.”

“The wheels on the bus go round and round. . .”
I bet you thought this was a simple refrain all this time, right? Just going back to the beginning to wrap it up neatly? Yeah no. Those wheels are spinning still, sure. They’re spinning round and round, but not on the ground this time. They’re spinning in the air. Cause the bus flipped over and everyone inside died. Fade to black.

I rest my case.


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