Nationality: African American
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: April 28
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Basic Spanish
This is the story of Booty Itches. People used to tell it on the playground because it’s hilarious. There once was uh, uh, uh a little boy named Booty Itches. And, uh, on the first day of school he went to class and his mom said, uh, or his teacher said, uh, “What’s your name?” “Booty Itches,” he said. And then the teacher said, “Uuuuuh, okay, funny. What’s your real name?” And he said, “Booty Itches!” “And she said, “Okay, uuuuh, I’m getting mad now, to tell you, I’ll ask you one more time and I’ll send you to the principal’s office. What’s your name?” “Booty Itches!” So he gets sent to the principal’s office. Um, and the principal said, “Okay, son! You’re new here. What’s your name?” He said, “Booty Itches!” Uh, the principal was all like, “Haha, funny! What’s your name?” “Booty Itches!” he said. He said it one more time and the principal got mad, so sent him home. And on the way home, um, he got hit by a car, and his mom saw it. And his mom said, “Oh, my poor Booty Itches!” And the police said, “So why don’t you scratch it?”
This story is a joke told by elementary school children. The joke deals with potty humor (such as the name Booty Itches), and violent death. Both of these subjects are taboo, and potty and body humor is popular among elementary school children. As is the wordplay found in the punch line: “my poor booty itches!” Which in this case refers to a person named “Booty Itches.” Word play is popular among elementary school children, because most children at this age are still developing an understanding of words and grammar.
This maerchen also has an element of blason populaire. This joke could be a way for children to talk about how many unusual, non-English names sound like certain words in English–at times to amusing effect. The name “Booty Itches” is an extreme, and perhaps insulting, example of a non-traditional, non- English name that a character in the joke possesses. The joke also illustrates the lack of integration and acceptance children with unusual, non-English names may experience within the school system. Police, in addition to school authorizes, is unknowledgeable or unwilling to listen to or believe this student who has such an unusual name.
Children would tell this joke to friends and classmates to gain acceptance and form groups based on humor. Although children would probably hear a joke like this many times from classmates (as repeating jokes is more popular with children) each child would try to tell the story better than the others to be thought of as funny, and therefore gain popularity.