Song: Happy Birthday Variation

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too.”

Connor explained to me that he learned this song at his elementary school whenever his class sang happy birthday to one of the students. He said that he learned it at Meramec Elementary School in Clayton, Missouri where he is from. However, he told me that his friends from other areas knew the song as well. A good time to perform this song is at a friend’s birthday party, where many children can get together and sing this version. He knows of other ways to continue the song but he said that this is the most popular between him and all of his friends. Parents tend to laugh at the children for singing this version because it reminds them of their own childhood when they used to sing different versions of songs to joke around.

According to Connor, the students sing as loud as they can so that everyone can hear their version over the other. He said that if people can hear the original version of the song, then their joke is not working. The goal is to embarrass the birthday kid on his or her own birthday. By telling the child that he or she looks like a monkey and smells like one too, Connor said that their friend will feel embarrassed as his or her face will hopefully turn red. But, it ends up being just a big joke for everyone to enjoy.

Connor thinks that this revision of the happy birthday song is a funny way to wish someone a happy birthday. He believes that there are many different versions but this is the one he knows the best. I agree with Connor in the sense that this joke is supposed to make people laugh. It is not supposed to mean that the child literally looks and smells like a monkey. Instead, it just makes him or her laugh. Birthdays are all about having fun with friends and family. This joke helps add to the excitement of turning another year older as a child because it gets everyone involved in the song. This song is great for adults too because although they are older now, the tune will help them remember their days as child singing similar birthday songs.