Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts

For many folklorists, this is THE BIG ONE. Perhaps the best known schoolyard gross out song, and also the one with the most variations. I've read dozens and dozens of variations, all sung to the tune of "The Old Gray Mare" (and "Floatin' Down the Delaware") and none exactly match the one I heard:

Great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts
mutilated monkey meat
little dirty birdy feet
french fried eyeballs in a pan of bloody meat
and I forgot my spoon
but I brought my straw! SLLLUUURRRPPPP"


That's within about one line of the earliest known version, which was recorded by Mika Seeger for a collection of "camp songs" in the late 1950s, around the time that gross school lunch songs that would go on to inspire the Beatles were taking England by storm. If I had to guess who the author was, Seeger herself is probably the most likely candidate, but as far as anyone knows, it's "traditional."

As I said, there are countless variations - it's rare to meet two kids from different schools or camps who sing it quite the same way. Some leave out the line about the straw, and some repeat "and me without my spoon" a fews time for a coda. Many end with a good, satisfying "slurp" noise, some don't. A couple versions that have been collected replace "Great green gobs of" with "boys are made of."

A few lines that turn up in one version or another:
one quart can of all-purpose porpoise pus (brilliant!)
Oldy, moldy goober nuts
French fried eyeballs floating in a pool of blood
Vulture vomit at my feet
Elvis Presley's dirty feet
Mix them up with barbecued baby brains
Chopped up baby parakeet
candy coated bumblebees

It's easy to see why this caught on - it's gross enough that kids will love it, but there's nothing particularly OBJECTIONABLE about it - no bodily functions, no real violence, no sex - so adults could teach it to kids. The lack of poop references (in a song that's just screaming for them) is a pretty good sign that it was written by an adult, not a kid. It was perfect for camp counselors looking to amuse kids; the kids went back to their various schools and taught it to their friends, who taught it to the kids at THEIR camps the next year. Interestingly, the "dead dog's eyes" that turned up in nearly all of the British gross-out songs of the same era are pretty well absent from these.

Post the version you knew in the comments!


BANNER PLAYGROUND tan2

22 comments:

  1. I learned this (circa 1980-83, in London, ON) as a battle of the sexes chant. With a bit of a tip of the hat to What Are Little Boys Made Of though we didn't know that at the time.

    The girls would sing:

    Boys are made of greasy, grimy gopher guts
    Chopped up birdy feet, marinated porky meat
    French fried eyeballs swimming in a bowl of blood
    Ooops! I forgot my straw!

    The boys would sing it starting with 'Girls are made of' with the same words.

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  2. ...day-old smelly halibuts, curdled worms and rotten nuts...

    (This is the version my mom taught me. She would have heard it in Baltimore or one of its suburbs in the 1950s.)

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  3. Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
    Mutilated mockingbirds,
    French fried frog's feet...

    That's all I remember! Seattle area, 1970s.

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  4. Here's the one I heard:

    Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts
    mutilated monkey meat
    dirty little birdie feet
    dusty eyeballs rollin' down the street
    you can't eat it without a spoon
    but I've got a straw! *slurping noise*

    South Carolina, 1980 or so

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  5. I learned the following version in 1st grade in Oakland, CA. The year was 1967.

    Girls are made of greasy grimy gopher guts
    Mincelated monkey meat
    Stinky little birds feet
    Jars and jars of purple, purple pus
    and slimey fishes eyes.

    Scab sandwiches
    Pus on top
    Alligator eyeballs
    Turkey snot
    Camel's vomit rolled in goo
    Makes a tasty treat for you!

    -Jeff P.

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  6. Great green globs of,
    greasy grimy gopher guts,
    mutilated monkey meat,
    frogs that heave at your feet,
    french fried eyeballs in a bowl of bloody meat
    and I don't got a spoon....
    but I got a straaaaaw... *Slurps*

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  7. Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts
    Teeny weeny birdy feet
    French fried eyeballs
    Smothered in a pool of blood
    And me without a spoon

    - Ren & Stimpy in the '90s

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  8. boys are made of greasy grimy gopher guts,
    mutilated monkey meat,
    chopped up parakeet,
    french fried eyeballs dipped in a bowl of blood
    - get them at your candy store,
    Yuck, Yuck!

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    Replies
    1. This is the closest one that learned

      Delete
  9. Miles and Miles of water and not a drop to drink
    Miles and Miles of greasy grimy gopher guts and
    mutilated monkey meat
    little dirty birdy feet
    french fried eyeballs in a pan of bloody meat
    and I forgot my spoon
    but I brought my straw!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Girls are made of greasy grimy gopher guts,
    Mutilated monkey meat,
    Dirty little birdy feet,
    All mixed together with
    evaporated vulture vomit (or all-purpose porpoise pus)
    Gee what a tasty treat.

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  11. Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts
    Mutilated monkey meat
    Chopped up birdies' feet
    French fried eyeballs rolling up and down the street
    Oops! I forgot my spoon!

    ReplyDelete
  12. ..Mishy moshy moose manure

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  13. Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts
    Mutilated monkey meat
    Chopped up parakeet
    French-fried eyeballs rolling down a muddy stream
    And I forgot my spoon
    But I brought a straw, and that ain't all
    Climbed up a wall
    and had a fall
    Into a great big pile of.....
    Great green glob of greasy grimy gopher guts
    (repeat...repeatedly)
    -- Kansas 1980s

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  14. Girls are made of:
    Greasy grimmy gopher guts
    Chopped up monkey meat
    Perculated birdies feet
    French fried eyeballs
    Swimming in a pool of blood

    I forgot my spoon

    How 'bout a strawwwwwwwwwww!

    The version learned at: Byron Southwood Public School, in London, Ontario, Canada during the mid 70's.

    Good Times!

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  15. I learned it in Southern California, in either Redondo Beach or in the San Bernardino Mountains, (Running Springs) in the early to mid 60's as:

    Boys are made of
    Greasy grimmy gopher guts
    Marinated monkey meat
    Chopped up piggy feet
    All topped off with
    Slippery slimy snail snot
    and I forgot my spoon....
    But I've got a straw

    Cat >^..^<

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  16. boys are made of- greasy grimy gopher guts,
    mutilated monkey butts,
    little turdy birdy feet,
    eighteen eyeballs rolling up and down the street, and i forgot my spoon!

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  17. Girls are made of greasy grimy gopher guts. mutilated monkey meat, little birdies bloody feet, French fried eyeballs swimming in a pool of blood, darn it I forgot my spoon. Chicago area 1960s

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  18. Great big gobs if greasy grimy gopher meat
    Mutilated monkey feet
    French fried eyeballs dipped in kerosene
    And I forgot my spoon... but I brought my straw! Dayton OH 1990's

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  19. Boys are made of greasy grimy gopher guts
    chopped up monkey meat
    amputated birdy feet
    french fried eyeballs in a bowl of mud
    oops I forgot my spoon
    -- learned from older sister in Denver, CO in the early 80s

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  20. Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
    French fried parakeet,
    Mutilated monkey meat,
    All wrapped up in purple penny porpoise puss,
    And I forgot my spoon.

    Upstate NY early 1980's

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  21. great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts
    mutilated monkey meat
    little birdies bloody feet
    one quart can of all purpose porpoise pus
    floating on pink lemonade
    and me without my straw...
    learned from my cousing in Mass. 1960's

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE tell us where and when you heard your version (ie, "Chicago, early 1950s). And please be aware that the information may end up in a book sooner or later.