Skip

Happy birthday to me, I'm a hundred and three....
September 30, 2012 6:41 PM   Subscribe

My son, a first-grader, sings a song to the tune of "Happy Birthday" that goes: "Happy Birthday to me / I'm a hundred and three / I still go to preschool / and I miss my mommy / my mommy's at work / she fired a jerk / she hired a monkey to do my homework." Most kid-culture folk songs my son brings home are well-known to me from my childhood, but not this one. What is the origin of this song, if it has an origin? How old is it?

Other data points:

* All the kids in his class know the song.
* We live in Wisconsin.
* This is NOT the "you look like a monkey and you smell like one too" song, which dates back at least to my childhood in the 1970s.
* Google turns up lots of mentions of this song, with variously modified lyrics, but nothing from before 2006 or so. Personal testimonies that the song is older than this are encouraged!
posted by escabeche to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hmmm...my son has known it for a few years, but certainly not before 2006. He's 9 and we live in California.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:25 PM on September 30, 2012


I have only a personal testimony that my daughter heard this one at school in Texas in 2010.
posted by pantarei70 at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2012


Never heard that one. It has a contemporary ring to it even if you disregard the mommy who can hire and fire. It's also a little ungainly to my ears, like it's not a classic and won't become one.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 7:52 PM on September 30, 2012


That last line is what makes it though. I may have underestimated it.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 8:04 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just sang this to my 12 year old. When i asked her if she knew it she rolled her eyes at me and said "duh, it's a classic." I have never heard it before now though.
posted by vespabelle at 8:50 PM on September 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


My son has been signing this for a year or two. Vancouver, BC, Canada. I thought his friend made it up and so did his friend's mom. So either it has gone viral from Vancouver or it's been around for a while. I just found a 2008 version on Youtube. (Amazingly, it is #1 in Google for "she fired a jerk" and beats out this Askme thread.)

Chausette goes to Youtube and creates a video empire for this song
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:35 PM on September 30, 2012


Cannot spell her own name and fails.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:35 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's from a tv show or something?
posted by windykites at 1:36 AM on October 1, 2012


I just asked my niece: her three elementary-age kids (in Massachusetts) all know it, too, so it's apparently pretty wide-spread.

(Just for additional info: the 'you look like a monkey and you smell like one too' version? That one goes back to AT LEAST the late 1950s: my siblings remember singing it as kids.)
posted by easily confused at 3:54 AM on October 1, 2012


When I was a kid we used to sing 'Happy Birthday to you, you're one hundred and two, you look like a monkey and you smell like one too', which bears significant similarities and may be the origin of the updated version you cite. This was in the NW UK, and 1970s/1980s. If you search for those lines you will see that others have similar recollections.
posted by biffa at 5:00 AM on October 1, 2012


My daughter (Portland, OR) also knows this one. There is a version that starts HB to you, you're a 102, you're still in pre-K, and you miss your mommy...
posted by perhapses at 9:40 AM on October 1, 2012


My five-year-old grandson (South Hadley, Mass.) was just singing this yesterday and I wondered the same thing. It's obviously derived from the "you look like a monkey and you smell like one too" version (he tacked that line on as well), but it's a variant that has spread like wildfire. Kid culture is an amazing phenomenon.
posted by languagehat at 11:00 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It may be completely unrelated, but the "hired a monkey to do my homework" thing sounds like a bit from Space Ghost. I have no idea if this is germane or if this is just going to brighten your day a bit.
posted by jph at 2:35 PM on October 1, 2012


« Older I need a new bag. I think the...   |  I am designing my own holiday ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post