Saturday, February 4, 2023

Everyone Has A Dawnzer Song

     It happens to everyone, many times in our lives, but most commonly it happens during childhood. Sometimes it's embarrassing, sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it becomes a story that is told for many years at family gatherings. The experience I am referring to is the Dawnzer Song. 

    The Dawnzer Song is what happens when someone confidently figures something out, but because their knowledge on the topic lacks some crucial details, they end up being wrong. Children, who are new to the world and often do not have things explained to them adequately, experience Dawnzer Songs the most abundantly. Examples of this include "figuring out" that a quarter of an hour means twenty five minutes because a quarter of a dollar is twenty five cents, or old pictures that are in black-and-white might lead some children to conclude that the picture was taken before color was invented and that the world had indeed, a long time ago, been black-and-white. 

    Of course, experiencing Dawnzer Songs is not just a childhood thing. Teenagers and adults are also prone to pulling their limited knowledge of something together to invent a "fact" that does not work in this world. Keep in mind; this is not stupidity. It is simply a matter of not having all the facts while trying to make sense of the world. Everyone, including the brightest of minds, have had their share of Dawnzer Songs. It is also not the same as being intentionally misled or fooled. It is simply an innocent mistake. 

    The origin on The Dawnzer Song comes from a children's book, Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Cleary. Cleary wrote many of her stories through the eyes of children as they travel through life, trying hard to figure out the complex would around them, and sometimes things come out wrong. Such was the case for said character, Ramona. 

    Every day in kindergarten, her class would start the day by singing the American national anthem, "Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light..."

    But what Ramona understood the words to say was, " the dawnzer lee light." After puzzling over what a dawnzer might be, she decided that because it gave a light, then it must be a lamp. After that, until she was eventually corrected, she thought of that part of her kindergarten class's morning routine as singing a song about a lamp.

    Goodness knows, I have had my fair share of Dawnzer Songs, especially in my childhood! Grownups were often impatient with my questions, did not understand my questions, or answered my questions in a way that was out of my level of understanding. Too often, it was up to me to "figure it out."

    One such case was when I was younger than six. We lived near some railroad tracks which were raised on a ten-foot mound of rocks. On the other side of that mound was a highway. Several trains went by on the tracks daily. I loved standing close to the mound so that I could wave at the engineer, count the cars, wave at stowaways in the open cattle cars, and then wave at the people in the caboose. I enjoyed this highlight of my youth several times a day!

    From the highway, on the other side of the railroad track mound was often the whoosh of the vehicles going by, but since I couldn't see them, I didn't know what those sounds were. Sometimes, I could see the tops of the tall trailers of semi trucks swish by as they went along the highway. From my vantage point, it looked to me like they were single flat rectangular trains running smoothly on the tracks, rather than behind them. So I believed that they were trains. When someone would try to point out to me that what I saw was a truck, I would immediately dismiss them, because trucks don't run on the railroad tracks, silly! Such was the extent of my knowledge on what I knew and what I was able to see. 

    Dawnzer Songs help remind us to keep learning. Never stop figuring things out. True, sometimes you will be wrong, but if you stop trying, then you will never be right. Sometimes you will be embarrassed to be wrong, but you are not the first, nor will you be the last to do so. Being wrong sometimes is how we grow. Some of your Dawnzer Songs will make you laugh and some will make you cringe. It is something that we all experience at one point or another. 

    It is something that we can all figure out our own lyrics to.