Sing Along.

Don’t ask me why but I have a bunch of songs from summer camp stuck in my head right now. This is important information and must be shared, if only because it might be the only way to get the songs stuck in my head out, although if anyone knows alternative ways to get a song stuck in your head unstuck I’d be happy to entertain them. I know of one possible way to get a song stuck in your head out and tried it on a friend once. He told me he had a song stuck in his head and I yelled, “OH MICKEY, YOU’RE SO FINE, YOU’RE SO FINE YOU BLOW MY MIND, HEY MICKEY!” which is a technique that really only replaces whatever song is stuck in your head with something worse and doesn’t work if the song you’re trying to get out happens to be “Hey Mickey!” And in fact the only thing that may really illustrate is that I’m a terrible friend who deserves to be punched in the back of the neck, but that’s another story.

Writing about songs stuck in my head also may not seem ideal since music isn’t an easy thing to write about. The saying “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”, which has been attributed to everyone from Emily Dickinson to Elvis Costello, going through the alphabet backwards, of course, is so popular because there’s some truth to it, although I’d like to see some dancing about architecture even if I couldn’t live in it.

Anyway the problem is I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, and while that doesn’t matter if I’m singing while no one’s around it may be why another technique I’ve been told can get a song unstuck—sing it out loud—isn’t working. The songs stuck in my head know I’m offkey and they’re locked in until I can find the right key. Not that the songs we sang at camp were all that difficult, and being in the right key never really mattered when the real point was to be enthusiastic and also loud enough that everyone around me pretty much drowned me out, like when we sang this:

I like bananas, coconuts, and grapes!

I like bananas, coconuts, and grapes!

I like bananas, coconuts and grapes,

That’s why they call me Tarzan Of The Apes!

And some weren’t even all that musical but were just recited so it didn’t matter that I’m completely tone deaf.

Hey, my name is Joe,

And I work in a button factory.

One day the boss came up to me and said,

“Hey Joe, are you busy?”

I said, “No,” and he said, “Turn the button with your left hand.”

And then we’d start shaking our left hands. This one goes on with the boss asking Joe to turn the button with his right hand, and we’d shake our right hands, then his left foot, so we’d lift our left feet and shake those, and it ends,

“Hey Joe, are you busy?”

I said, YES!

And I’m pretty sure there’s an epilogue that involves Joe punching his boss in the back of the neck.

Then there was the nonsense we sang—or rather that everybody else sang to the tune of “O du lieber Augustin” and that I just sort of belted out like the Queen Of The Night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, only worse—that was my favorite:

In de valley in de vintertime

Ven de vind blows on de vindow pane

Den de vimmen in de vaudeville

Ride dere velocipedes in de vestibule

Of de Viking Hotel.

A group of us performed that one at the final evening talent show that always capped summer camp—or rather some other kids performed it and were loud enough to drown me out so I wasn’t responsible for it being stuck in anyone’s head. Then when we were done singing we all introduced ourselves with clever food pun names we’d come up with. There was Sam Handwich and Zack N. Cheese and, well, Olive, and when we got to me I drew a blank about what mine was supposed to be and I just yelled, “Froot Loops!” And everyone laughed and completely forgot the songs we’d been singing.

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6 Comments

  1. mydangblog

    Camp songs are so much fun! But if you ever get a song stuck in your head again, may I suggest a little tune called “Toxic”? It’ll stay around for a while but you can dance to it:-)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Oh, thanks, now I’ve got that stuck in my head. Although there’s a side benefit: it’s used in one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes.

      Reply
  2. ANN J KOPLOW

    Guess what’s stuck in my head now? O, du lieber Chris!
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3135: Having people overMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope that’s the worst earworm you’ll have this week.

      Reply
  3. M.L. James

    “I went to town to see, that old tatooed lady…she was a sight to see, tatooed from head to knee…” Yep, my favorite camp song…now stuck in my head…at least I don’t have the song that never ends stuck. Ah, dammit.Now it is. 😶
    .

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Holy mackerel, I didn’t know that one, but, seriously, The Kingston Trio seemed to specialize in catchy tunes. And that’s at least the third song I know of about a tattooed lady. There’s also the one by The Smothers Brothers and of course Groucho’s “Lydia, Oh Lydia”. There must be an album of tattooed lady songs somewhere.

      Reply

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