Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


PART OF the fun of listening is trying to figure out what is being said. I mentioned a few family classics of this creative hearing in Things like “penguins” when what wife Dottie really said was “pink ones,” and “zebras” when in fact that’s exactly what she said.

Auditory misunderstandings continue with us, with children around the world and with song lyrics.

A niece of wife Dottie was shocked when she asked her daughter and friends what they were playing. “Nazi, Jew,” her daughter responded. Or did she? It turned out they were playing “Nancy Drew.”

Always fun are the tales of Sunday School Nativity drawings, one with a rotund fellow next to the manger, the other with a trio wearing firemen hats.

The first fellow is Round John Virgin, as in the carol Silent Night. “Round John Virgin, mother and child.”


The three Wise Men. Image from

The second, reputedly from the South, makes sense when you realize the three Wise Men “came from afar.”

A lot of kids learn hymns prior to knowing how to read. It’s no surprise, then, that many think the hymn is, inexplicably, “Lead On, O Kinky Turtle.” Their parents know that as O King Eternal.

Maybe you’ve heard Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear?


Image from Nik,

Nik in Scotland offers this cartoon and thoughtful aspects at “a pilgrim’s process, the bemused ramblings of a wandering, wondering woman.” She cites, for example, that The Lord’s Prayer firmly convinces kids that God’s name is “Harold.”


Frank Muir, left, and Denis Norden discussed many things, including creative hearing, on the BBC Radio My Word! See

Another bit of liturgy: Frank Muir tells of a young neighbor who was allowed to bury a deceased pet in the back garden. Solemnly, the young man intoned, “In the name of the Father, the Son and down the hole he goes.”


Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, cantata for chorus and orchestra, 1936.

Carl Orff’s amazing Carmina Burana is great territory for anyone’s misunderstanding, based as it is on off-color ditties composed in Medieval Latin. But it reaches a new high at My commendation to FamishedMammal for hearing in this creative manner. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2014

2 comments on “CREATIVE HEARING, TAKE 2

  1. richard
    April 24, 2014

    Our favorite has always been “You see them bald.” We were having a discussion about how you rarely see older women who are redheads. I said “Lucille Ball” …what others heard was ‘you see them bald’ … bald redheads–who knew!!

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2014 by in I Usta be an Editor Y'Know and tagged , , .
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