Miss Susie had a tugboat
The tugboat had a bellding ding
Miss Susie went to heaven
And the tugboat went to
HELL-o operator lease give me #9
And if you disconnect me I will
Chop off your behind
Behind thefrigerator there was
A piece of glass
Miss Susie sat upon it
And it went right up her
ASS-k me no more questions and Ill
Tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their
Flies are in the meadows
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are
Kissing in the
D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, Dark, dark, dark
–is like a movie, a movies
like a show,
A show is like a TV set and that
Is all I
Know I know my Ma, I know I know my Pa,
I know I know my sister with her
40 meter bra, bra, bra
My mother is Godzilla
My father is King Kong
My brother is the stupid one
Who made up this whole song
Miss Susie had a baby
She named him Tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub to
See if he could swim
He drank up all the water
He ate up all the soap
He tried to eat the bathtub
But it wont fit down his throat
Miss Susie called the doctor
The doctor called the burse
The nurse called the lady
With the alligator purse
Miss Susie punched the doctor
The doctor punched the nurse
The nurse punched the lady
With the alligator purse
The subject told me that she used to recite the rhyme with all of the other girls at recess in third grade (which is about 10 years ago). She said that the Miss Susie rhyme was one of the most popular rhymes used often in conjunction with hand clapping of various patterns (see above picture for example). When I asked her why this one was so popular, she suggested that it may be because of the length and the melody, which makes it easier to make up intricate clapping routines.
When I first heard the subject recite this rhyme I was immediately taken back to my elementary school. I also did the various clapping routines during this rhyme with my little sister, however mine was a little different, instead of a tug boat mine was a steam boat, as well as several other word choice changes throughout the rhyme. I mentioned this to her, and she nodded saying that within her own school district there were many different versions. I took note of this and looked up the rhyme online and found many different websites citing the rhyme, each one a little different. Some of the rhymes, like the one below, is shorter than the one she and I knew. Also a few of the rhymes had Miss Lucy as the subject rather than Susie. I was surprised as to how many variants there were of this one childrens rhyme. Then I read the website, and it was dedicated to children rhymes of the eighties, and although there was no proof of its birth in the eighties, I think that since its been around for over 20 years, there are many different variants. However each variant still stays true to the melody and the disguised cuss words.
I think that this rhyme was and is still so popular among young girls and boys is because of the cuss words, hell turns into hello, ass into ask, and flies (referring to pants) turns into flies (referring to bugs). I know that little kids are normally not allowed to cuss so this is a way to get around it, without getting into trouble. I also agree with the subject, in the fact that the length and speed of the rhyme was ideal to a good clapping routine.
When I looked up this rhyme I found a wikipedia article on it, in which it gave a list of allusions that use a line or refer to the rhyme in their contents, I have included the list at the bottom of the page. I was surprised at the array of sources that used the rhyme from cartoons like Rockos Modern Life and The Simpsons to bands such as The White Stripes as well as comedian Bob Saget.
Miss Susie had a tug boat,
her tug boat had a bell (ding ding),
miss Susie went to heaven her tug boat went to HELL…o operator
please give me number nine,
and if you disconnect me I’ll cut off your behind the refrigerator
there lay a piece of glass
miss Susie sat upon it and cut her little ASS…k me no more questions,
I’ll tell you now more lies
the boys are in the bathroom zipping up their flies..are in the meadow,
the bees are in the park,
miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the d-a-r-k, d-a-r-k, dark dark dark.
The dark is like the movies,
the movies’ like the show,
the show is like tv
and that is all I know know know, I know I know my ma
I know I know my pa,
I know I know my sister with the 49’rs bra. The bra is for the boobies,
the boobies for the milk,
the milk is for the babies with diapers made of silk.
- Bob Saget sings a similar song at the end of his live comedy act.
- In the White Stripes song “Hello Operator” (on the album De Stijl): “Hello operator / Can you give me number nine?”
- In the Self song “Pattycake” (a reminiscence of the narrator’s 1970s childhood, on the album Gizmodgery, which was performed using only children’s toy instruments): Verses 2 through 4 and a modified version of verse 5 as a bridge.
- In The Simpsons episode Bart Sells His Soul, Sherri and Terri sing, “Bart sold his soul, and that’s just swell / Now he’s going straight to / Hello operator / give me number nine” in Bart‘s nightmare.
- In The Simpsons episode Fat Man and Little Boy, Lisa and her friend Janey recite this rhyme. An eavesdropping Homer gasps whenever he expects profanity and lets out sighs of relief when they turn out to be innocuous.
- In South Park, Wendy Testaburger has a similar song (“Miss Landers was a health nut…”).
- On Rocko’s Modern Life, Rocko and Heffer sing the first few bars of the song on a car trip.