This old man, he played one
He played knick-knack on my thumb
With a knick-knack, paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home.
All through my childhood I never really paid that much attention to the lyrics but looking back this song appears highly dubious. Let’s break it down.
I can’t say for sure what knick-knack is but apparently it involves an old man touching various body parts of a child. Is he a paedophile? Quite possibly.
After doing this the old man likes to whack Irishmen in some clearly racist attack.
He then gives a dog a bone. While some think this is a redeeming feature of the old man, I argue that he probably did not act out of kindness but to insinuate that the poor paddy lying on the ground bleeding is lower than a dog. Others believe he "gives the dog a bone" in an act of bestiality although I truly hope this is not the case.
After doing this the old man celebrates his misdeeds by having far too many beers and getting drunk to the point where he must roll home.
Which leads me to the question – why were we singing nursery rhymes about a racist, drunk, violent paedophile? I guess the tune was kind of catchy.