Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Take One Down, Pass It Around

The music teacher at my elementary school, Mrs. Collins, was very serious about her role in molding the morals of America’s future leaders.

She did not take chances.

That is why we all learned this song in the second grade:
Ten bottles of milk on the wall,
Ten bottles of milk,

If one of those bottles should happen to fall,
There’d be nine bottles of milk on the wall.
Mrs. Collins edited a few other songs as well, including removing all the racy bits from that salacious ditty “Let It Snow.”

I was already familiar with the flexible nature of song lyrics, though, thanks to one of my family’s several vaguely twisted hobbies. Early on, my dad taught us the John Denver favorite “You Fill Up My Sinuses,” along with Willie Nelson’s classic “Squash a Toad Again.”

Naturally, the improved editions of popular children’s songs were also a big hit at school.

It turned out that my family’s sensibilities were not quite a match for the Mrs. Collins School of public decency. I’m just glad she never found out about “The House at Poo Corner.”


  1. I think, maybe, Mrs. Collins needed the disillusionment of "You're the Reason Daddy Drinks" as a child.

  2. Yes, I'm afraid she wouldn't approve of the Harsh Truths for Children Jaunty Songbook. "La dee da dee da Rover didn't go to a farm..."