USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Youth’
Musical

99 Bottles of Coke

BACKGROUND:

The following song was sung by young children (kindergarten-middle school) in the Bay Area of California, traditionally on long car trips or bus rides. The song was often sung ironically to bother other members of the vehicle due to its obnoxiously long and repetitive manor. According to this source, the song often wouldn’t last more than 5-6 verses before someone would get mad and demand the song cease. The song is also known for using the word “beer” in place of “coke”. According to this source, the reason for the change to coke was due to fear of getting in trouble from teachers or parents for singing about consuming alcohol as a minor.

THE SONG:

99 bottles of coke on the wall, 99 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of coke on the wall.

98 bottles of coke on the wall, 98 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 97 bottles of coke on the wall.

97 bottles of coke on the wall, 97 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 96 bottles of coke on the wall.

96 bottles of coke on the wall, 96 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 95 bottles of coke on the wall.

95 bottles of coke on the wall, 95 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 94 bottles of coke on the wall.

94 bottles of coke on the wall, 94 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 93 bottles of coke on the wall.

93 bottles of coke on the wall, 93 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 92 bottles of coke on the wall.

92 bottles of coke on the wall, 92 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 91 bottles of coke on the wall.

91 bottles of coke on the wall, 91 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 90 bottles of coke on the wall.

90 bottles of coke on the wall, 90 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 89 bottles of coke on the wall.

89 bottles of coke on the wall, 89 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 88 bottles of coke on the wall.

88 bottles of coke on the wall, 88 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 87 bottles of coke on the wall.

87 bottles of coke on the wall, 87 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 86 bottles of coke on the wall.

86 bottles of coke on the wall, 86 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 85 bottles of coke on the wall.

85 bottles of coke on the wall, 85 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 84 bottles of coke on the wall.

84 bottles of coke on the wall, 84 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 83 bottles of coke on the wall.

83 bottles of coke on the wall, 83 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 82 bottles of coke on the wall.

82 bottles of coke on the wall, 82 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 81 bottles of coke on the wall.

81 bottles of coke on the wall, 81 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 80 bottles of coke on the wall.

80 bottles of coke on the wall, 80 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 79 bottles of coke on the wall.

79 bottles of coke on the wall, 79 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 78 bottles of coke on the wall.

78 bottles of coke on the wall, 78 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 77 bottles of coke on the wall.

77 bottles of coke on the wall, 77 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 76 bottles of coke on the wall.

76 bottles of coke on the wall, 76 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 75 bottles of coke on the wall.

75 bottles of coke on the wall, 75 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 74 bottles of coke on the wall.

74 bottles of coke on the wall, 74 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 73 bottles of coke on the wall.

73 bottles of coke on the wall, 73 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 72 bottles of coke on the wall.

72 bottles of coke on the wall, 72 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 71 bottles of coke on the wall.

71 bottles of coke on the wall, 71 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 70 bottles of coke on the wall.

70 bottles of coke on the wall, 70 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 69 bottles of coke on the wall.

69 bottles of coke on the wall, 69 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 68 bottles of coke on the wall.

68 bottles of coke on the wall, 68 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 67 bottles of coke on the wall.

67 bottles of coke on the wall, 67 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 66 bottles of coke on the wall.

66 bottles of coke on the wall, 66 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 65 bottles of coke on the wall.

65 bottles of coke on the wall, 65 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 64 bottles of coke on the wall.

64 bottles of coke on the wall, 64 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 63 bottles of coke on the wall.

63 bottles of coke on the wall, 63 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 62 bottles of coke on the wall.

62 bottles of coke on the wall, 62 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 61 bottles of coke on the wall.

61 bottles of coke on the wall, 61 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 60 bottles of coke on the wall.

60 bottles of coke on the wall, 60 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 59 bottles of coke on the wall.

59 bottles of coke on the wall, 59 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 58 bottles of coke on the wall.

58 bottles of coke on the wall, 58 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 57 bottles of coke on the wall.

57 bottles of coke on the wall, 57 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 56 bottles of coke on the wall.

56 bottles of coke on the wall, 56 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 55 bottles of coke on the wall.

55 bottles of coke on the wall, 55 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 54 bottles of coke on the wall.

54 bottles of coke on the wall, 54 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 53 bottles of coke on the wall.

53 bottles of coke on the wall, 53 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 52 bottles of coke on the wall.

52 bottles of coke on the wall, 52 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 51 bottles of coke on the wall.

51 bottles of coke on the wall, 51 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 50 bottles of coke on the wall.

50 bottles of coke on the wall, 50 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 49 bottles of coke on the wall.

49 bottles of coke on the wall, 49 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 48 bottles of coke on the wall.

48 bottles of coke on the wall, 48 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 47 bottles of coke on the wall.

47 bottles of coke on the wall, 47 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 46 bottles of coke on the wall.

46 bottles of coke on the wall, 46 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 45 bottles of coke on the wall.

45 bottles of coke on the wall, 45 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 44 bottles of coke on the wall.

44 bottles of coke on the wall, 44 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 43 bottles of coke on the wall.

43 bottles of coke on the wall, 43 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 42 bottles of coke on the wall.

42 bottles of coke on the wall, 42 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 41 bottles of coke on the wall.

41 bottles of coke on the wall, 41 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 40 bottles of coke on the wall.

40 bottles of coke on the wall, 40 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 39 bottles of coke on the wall.

39 bottles of coke on the wall, 39 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 38 bottles of coke on the wall.

38 bottles of coke on the wall, 38 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 37 bottles of coke on the wall.

37 bottles of coke on the wall, 37 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 36 bottles of coke on the wall.

36 bottles of coke on the wall, 36 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 35 bottles of coke on the wall.

35 bottles of coke on the wall, 35 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 34 bottles of coke on the wall.

34 bottles of coke on the wall, 34 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 33 bottles of coke on the wall.

33 bottles of coke on the wall, 33 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 32 bottles of coke on the wall.

32 bottles of coke on the wall, 32 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 31 bottles of coke on the wall.

31 bottles of coke on the wall, 31 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 30 bottles of coke on the wall.

30 bottles of coke on the wall, 30 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 29 bottles of coke on the wall.

29 bottles of coke on the wall, 29 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 28 bottles of coke on the wall.

28 bottles of coke on the wall, 28 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 27 bottles of coke on the wall.

27 bottles of coke on the wall, 27 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 26 bottles of coke on the wall.

26 bottles of coke on the wall, 26 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 25 bottles of coke on the wall.

25 bottles of coke on the wall, 25 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 24 bottles of coke on the wall.

24 bottles of coke on the wall, 24 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 23 bottles of coke on the wall.

23 bottles of coke on the wall, 23 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 22 bottles of coke on the wall.

22 bottles of coke on the wall, 22 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 21 bottles of coke on the wall.

21 bottles of coke on the wall, 21 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 20 bottles of coke on the wall.

20 bottles of coke on the wall, 20 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 19 bottles of coke on the wall.

19 bottles of coke on the wall, 19 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 18 bottles of coke on the wall.

18 bottles of coke on the wall, 18 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 17 bottles of coke on the wall.

17 bottles of coke on the wall, 17 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 16 bottles of coke on the wall.

16 bottles of coke on the wall, 16 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 15 bottles of coke on the wall.

15 bottles of coke on the wall, 15 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 14 bottles of coke on the wall.

14 bottles of coke on the wall, 14 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 13 bottles of coke on the wall.

13 bottles of coke on the wall, 13 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 12 bottles of coke on the wall.

12 bottles of coke on the wall, 12 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 11 bottles of coke on the wall.

11 bottles of coke on the wall, 11 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 10 bottles of coke on the wall.

10 bottles of coke on the wall, 10 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 9 bottles of coke on the wall.

9 bottles of coke on the wall, 9 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 8 bottles of coke on the wall.

8 bottles of coke on the wall, 8 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 7 bottles of coke on the wall.

7 bottles of coke on the wall, 7 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 6 bottles of coke on the wall.

6 bottles of coke on the wall, 6 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 5 bottles of coke on the wall.

5 bottles of coke on the wall, 5 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 4 bottles of coke on the wall.

4 bottles of coke on the wall, 4 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 3 bottles of coke on the wall.

3 bottles of coke on the wall, 3 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 2 bottles of coke on the wall.

2 bottles of coke on the wall, 2 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 1 bottle of coke on the wall.

1 bottle of coke on the wall, 1 bottle of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, no more bottles of coke on the wall.

No more bottles of coke on the wall, no more bottles of coke. 

Go to the store and buy some more, 99 bottles of coke on the wall.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I too sang a variation of this song on long car trips, typically in elementary school on the way to a field trip. I love that a fear of getting in trouble caused a lyric change from the version you normally hear, “99 Bottles of Beer”. I think that its humorous intentions of getting on someone’s nerves makes sense for the young demographic that this song was performed by.

For an adapted, published version of this folk song, see:

Williams, Zane. “99 Bottles – Zane Williams.” YouTube, 14 May 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVjCag8XoHQ. 

Childhood
Contagious
Foodways
Game
general
Humor
Life cycle

A juvenile Knock Knock joke involving Bananas

My informant told me the following joke, which she claims to have heard from a six-year old boy:

Informant: Knock knock

Me: Who’s there?

Informant: Banana

Me: Banana who?

Informant: Bannana in your face! Haha

 

While not as intrinsically complex or cultural revealing as much other folklore, given that my informant heard this joke from a six year old child at an Elementary School, it serves to illustrate the developing humor of adolescents, a difficult test subject to gather information from. Furthermore, given that the informant remembered this joke and still finds it humorous, it shows how sometimes the simplest amusements carry a charm which transcends all age boundaries.

Legends

Gravity Hill

“In Chino Hills, there’s a ghost story sort of thing, um, where, uh, we have a lot of hills in Chino Hills and there’s one hill that, um, it’s almost as if it’s like two hills in a row. So there’s like a ‘U’ between the two hills. Um, and there used to be a road that goes up and over them, um, and you kind of go down and then back up, um, and supposedly there was a car accident, um, I don’t even know how long ago, um, where, like, 3 or 4 children ended up dying in the car accident in-between these two hills.  Um, and supposedly, now there’s no longer a road, um, but if there– supposedly if you go in-between with your car and you kind of go down into where the ‘U’ is at the bottom and you set it up so that your car is in neutral, kind of facing upward toward the second hill, um, so that you’re– as if you’re going to go up the second hill, um, and then you put it in neutral and kind of go up slightly, um, supposedly you’re going to go back down… Supposedly the kids’ ghosts, the children’s ghosts, come and push your car back the opposite direction so you go back up the hill backwards, um, and so tons of, like, teenagers try to do this with their cars all the time um and supposedly, I’ve actually had a couple friends that told me it works, um, and everyone flips out, um, because everyone thinks these children’s ghosts come and, like, push your car, um, but in actuality it’s probably just gravity.” Laughs

 

My informant is a former resident of Chino Hills, California. This is a popular legend spread amongst the youth in the area and my informant first heard it from friends her age when she was a young teenager. My informant doesn’t have much patience for ghost stories, but enjoyed sharing the tale anyway. This is a legend that seems to have been around for awhile in the area as the father of another informant I spoke to remembers this story from when he was a teen. This secondary informant refers to the site mentioned in the legend as ‘Gravity Hill’ and adds a new detail: supposedly, when the ghost children are pushing the car up the hill, handprints can be seen on the windshield.

The Gravity Hill story is not unique to Chino Hills. Reportedly, there are several haunted hills throughout Southern California and, likely, the rest of the country. It’s an urban legend that is adapted for whatever area in which the story is told.

Customs
Game
Humor

Cow Tipping

“Basically, you run up to the cow and tip it over” -informant

Cow tipping is a hobby usually found in rural areas where cows are common. The idea is to surprise the cow and push it over, because it looks funny.

The informant tried to go cow tipping with her friends on a weekend up in rural California. However, she found that it is harder than it sounds, because cows are easily frightened and will run away if you run up to them. Furthermore, cows sleep lying down, so you can’t surprise them when they’re asleep. The informant, although disappointed that she could not successfully cow-tip, still had fun with her friends in the adventure. She learned about cow-tipping from back home in Washington, because she lives near rural areas where the custom is more popular.

I have heard of cow-tipping before, because my father grew up on a farm and told me about the custom. However, he also warned me that it is very dangerous, because cows are heavy and might try to kick you. I believe that I’ve seen cow-tipping in literature before as well. I feel a little bad for the cows who are tipped, because it sounds painful and annoying to get stuck on your side like that. I don’t think I would ever actually attempt to go cow-tipping, although it is kind of funny when you talk about it. I think it reflects the need of rural youth to find creative ways to entertain themselves, because they don’t have access to many of the distractions that are available in a city or even a suburb. It would be exciting to get in a little trouble and do something mischievous like cow-tipping, which probably would annoy the dairy farmers. I doubt that adult would partake in this custom, as it seems more suited to the humor of children and older youth.

Adulthood
Childhood
general
Initiations
Legends
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Pirate’s Cave

Here my informant recounts a tradition among the local youth he knew in Point Loma to visit a place they called the “Pirate Cave” he describes the historical basis for the tradition, and the reasons people are still drawn there.

“Alright, well I grew up in Point Loma San Diego, and there’s this thing called sunset cliffs, and it’s a bunch of like 40 or 60 foot cliffs, big and really pretty, and, um, in the 1920’s during prohibition, it was like a major smuggling destination for alcohol, and there’s a really cool cave that’s connected to where boats could land at the cliffs, and has like access at low tide only, and then it goes up to the top of the cliff like through and under and um its really cool cause like you can go in and explore and um people have like found bones in there, and there’s like notches in the wall where they used to put candles to light the passage ways, and what’s really sketchy is like, its been known about for a while by locals, and they [the smugglers] tried to catch them, so they have like pitfalls in the path like inside the cliffs  like, that were traps for police forces which were set up, um, yeah, pretty awesome. We just call it pirate’s cave because of people who pirated the alcohol brought it in that way and, now they stopped using it. And there’s like carved steps, yeah it’s really cool.”

The informant enumerates undeniable draws to explore this former bootlegging hideout. From rotting bones to booby traps, many of these rumors are so adventurous  they seem likely to be fabricated. However, regardless of their accuracy, there must be some foundation for rumors, and my informants’ description of “Pirate Cave” shows how tradition can develop from a desire for adventure.

general
Legends
Myths

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary

When my informant was little, she had heard about the legend of Bloody Mary. At her elementary school, one of the girl’s bathrooms was supposedly haunted by the ghost of Bloody Mary and those who were brave enough could go in, turn the lights off and then spin around three times yelling out her name. If they did this correctly they would see Bloody Mary dressed in white in front of them in the mirror.

Bloody Mary is a classic folklore figure amongst youths. I know that I had heard about Bloody Mary when I was in grade school as well and my friends and I would all go into the bathroom together to try to see her. Although the true origins of Bloody Mary are unknown, the story my informant had heard was where a woman named Mary had committed suicide because one of her children was stolen from her. All of the stories involving Mary, however, seem to be associated with children and childbirth, which is possibly why she is “Bloody” Mary. Like we discussed in class, mostly girls knew about this myth, especially since Bloody Mary resided in the girls’ bathroom.

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