idiot mnemonics that recur in fevers

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
Why did everything have to keep coming in rhymes? Coming and going in such dreadful cheap jingles and jangles, like the idiot mnemonics that recur in fevers? My dog has fleas, they bite his knees—
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: Frannie is reflecting on the recent dreadful events of her parents death with the superflu.

What does the bolded simile say?

Thank you.
 
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  • Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I think he means the delirious state people can sometimes go in and out of when they are ill with a fever. In such a condition someone might verbally ramble in a confused manner, saying all sorts of things including mnemonic phrases they may have learned in the past, such as "My dog has fleas, they bite his knees—".

    "My dog has fleas" is a mnemonic [memory aid] which is sung to a very small musical phrase used by musicians to tune their ukuleles. The only Google matches with the added section of "they bite his knees", bring up quotes from The Stand. It may be something that King has heard people sing or it could be that he just put that line in because it fits the same pattern as the first line and rhymes with it. That in turn supports his:
    Why did everything have to keep coming in rhymes? Coming and going in such dreadful cheap jingles and jangles
    [See YT video called "uke my dog has fleas". :rolleyes:]

    delirious Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
     
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