RE: Alt/Life
Jun 02, 2019

Nursery Rhyme Review: Old Man Is Snoring.

Summary: old man with sleep apnoea ends up in coma due to head trauma suffered while getting into bed during a thunderstorm.

There is no happy ending for readers of this nursery rhyme, which in a way is sad. The premise was promising and if done correctly would have made a great read. But, here we are. Although the story starts in a clichéd sort of way, reminiscent of 'it was a dark and stormy night' scenarios, it climaxes in tragedy after a drawn out, mundane lead up.

And the middle is mundane, pointlessly so. The reader, after being introduced to the protagonist soon after the dramatic events outside his house, is exposed to the oft boring, monotonous sounds of an old man's sleep apnoea. To be honest, the story couldn't be less interesting at this point and it's not explained why the sounds of a sleeping old man is a focus.

What's more, the author fails in their attempt at using a well-known creative device, a flashback, to inject some tension in to the story. In an attempt to lay the ground work for the ending, we're taken back to the time before the old man goes to sleep in order to explain how the man got injured. The reader would not be blamed in wondering; what was the point? It offers no other benefit, no other back story to the storm, or even any motivations as to why the main character is going to bed.

It is also a little bit confusing. Are these events just a part of some dream, or did they actually take place? The reader is left confused until the very end, which simply doesn't do enough to make up for the poorly executed trope. We are left bereft of closure to happens to the old man. Does he ever wake up in the afternoon? Does he does not wake up at all and die, and if so is it from the bump to the head or sleep apnoea?

But, like most nursery rhymes, there's a moral to this story, although at first reading it's hard to uncover it. The allegory suggests that if you suffer as a result of common social norms (getting into bed), it's best to address them immediately because to delay will just make it harder. The storm is a red herring. It would have been more entertaining just stating this and so saving us from this, at best, mediocre rhyme.