Polar Bear Underwear Song

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: College Student
Residence: Saratoga, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/15/2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Korean

“One day someone pooped in his underwear,

couldn’t find another pair, had to wear the dirty pair.

Five days later, eaten by a polar bear,

the next day the polar bear died.”

Polar Bear Underwear Song

The informant learned this from his friend, “a church friend actually.  I think I was maybe in the 5th grade.”  He had forgotten the song, and only recently remembered it when his older sister sang it to him on their road trip together.

He likes the song because it is so nonsensical.  There is no moral to the story.  It’s just funny.  “It rhymes and its got poop in it.  I just realized.  It has a rhyme and to add to the nonsensicalness of it, the last line doesn’t rhyme.  (Laughing) Where did the polar bear come from and why did he die?  Oh my gosh.”  He really enjoys the song even though he is older now.  Sometimes the song pops into his head, but he doesn’t ever really sing it for a particular purpose or to make people laugh.

The song is just fun and silly, but it also covers the taboo of bodily functions.  The song allows them to have a tabooistic discourse even in place as sanctimonious as church.  Children perhaps use the song to talk about “gross things” in a fun way.  With songs, politeness is not necessary all the time.  I like the little song, and I know the kids in my family would really enjoy it as well.

Annotation: In a collection of children’s songs, there is a variation of this:

Five days later she couldn’t find her underwear
Couldn’t find her underwear, couldn’t find her underwear
Ten days later she was eaten by a polar bear
That was the end of her!

G., Marissa. “Children’s Songs Part Three.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. <http://www.kayshapero.net/child3.htm>.