We used to sing little rhymes when I was young, commercial parodies and rip-offs of popular songs with naughty words inserted and silly little poems that would get us a mouthful of soap if overheard by an adult.
Now that I am older and (ahem) more mature, I see the error of my ways in repeating most of those words. But I plead ignorance. Those were polictically incorrect times. We didn't know a racial slur from an ethnic slur from a potentially offensive to the entire planet slur. Our parents never taught us to differentiate between humor that makes you laugh and humor that makes some people cringe. Hell, we got most of our little rhymes from them. Insensitive songs passed from generation to generation like the crowned jewels of the family.
Not all of the poems were insensitive to certain groups of people. They were just stupid. Especially the bodily function rhymes.
Milk, milk lemonade
Around the corner fudge is made
During this beautifully written poem, you would point to various body parts at the proper time. And then, if you were 7 or 8 or 9 years old, you would fall on the floor laughing. And then repeat ad naseum for the next week or so, until the newest ditty came around. And I can see why the kids still love it. Anything that references poop is timeless.
There was one we used to sing back in 3rd grade:
whistle while you work
hitler is a jerk
mussolini bit his weenie
that's why it won't work
Now, at that age Hitler was just a vague notion to me and I had no clue who Mussolini was or why he had his teeth on Hitler's weenie. I certainly didn't get the connotation that Hitler had some problems in his nether regions. I just knew it rhymed, it used the word weenie, and it was funny.
So imagine my surprise when DJ came home singing that very song the other day. How the hell does something like that make it all the through the years? Considering the two subjects of the song, it must have been around long before I was singing it, back in the early 60's. So here we are in 2002 and 3rd graders are still whistling about Hitler's weenie.
I asked DJ if he knew who Hitler or Mussolini was. He knew all about Hitler. He thought Mussolini was an Italian soccer player. "But," he said, "the word weenie is really funny. We don't care who the song is about, we just like to make people laugh when we sing it. WEENIE!"
It occurred to me that a parent had to tell their own kid that joke in order for it to survive through the ages. I can see passing on the parody standards like jingle bells, batman smells, or deck the halls with buddy holly and god bless my underwear, but I'll skip anything that involves me getting into a detailed history lesson. Sort of takes away from the humor.
I wonder which ones my kids will pass on to their own kids. I see less and less of the insensitive rhymes going around, but in return we get things like cut my wife into pieces, this is my last divorce. Somehow I can't see my grandkids coming home from school singing made up words to Papa Roach songs.
Got any good parodies or bodily function rhymes to pass along?