Jingle Bells – Batman and Joker    (Sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)

Batman’s in the kitchen,

Robin’s in the hall,

Joker’s in the bathroom,

Peeing on the wall!

O, jingle bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg,

The Batmobile lost a wheel and the joker got away!

My second cousin Zak Kolton told me that he learned this during grade school sometime.  As is customary with these sorts of rhymes, he could not remember when he specifically heard it, or from whom he had learned it from.  He has lived in the South Bay all his life, and attended a Lutheran elementary school, where he suspects he learned it.  He lamented the fact that he could not remember the entire song, as obviously this contains only a fragment covering the chorus and fragment of a verse.  He attributed this to the fact that he hadn’t sung it in years, and that his mother always got angry at him when he sang this as a child.  This was however more than I could recall, as I had no recollection of the verse section, with the chorus line sounding vaguely familiar.

This song demonstrates many characteristics of children’s rhymes, with a familiar tune and memorable imagery.  Both the verse section and the chorus illustrate elementary school age children’s fascination with bodily excrements.  In fact, the focal point of the first verse section is the fact that the villain Joker is in the bathroom “peeing on the wall.”  This is in itself quite puzzling; if he took the time to enter the bathroom, why would he pee on the wall instead of the toilet as he is supposed to?  Perhaps this verse hints a child’s simple desire to defy authority, merely for the sake of defying authority.  A child doesn’t want to defy authority on account of its difficulty or in order to prove a point; he simply wants to impose his will over that of the establishment.  In the same way, the image of the Joker peeing on the wall even though he is already in the bathroom carries this same idea.  Joker is not breaking the rules because he is forced to or because it is too inconvenient for him; he is breaking them simply because he wants to, because he feels like it.  This cavalier attitude of rebellion is something many young children harbor, and is illustrated in their rhymes.

The second image of excrement deals with Robin and his laying of an egg.  Besides the fact that the song now has both forms of human waste covered, this contains a simple symbol.  Although it is obviously a piece of poop, the song says that Robin “laid an egg.”  By not explicitly spelling it out, it gives first graders a chance to interpret this symbol for themselves.  When they all arrive at the same obvious conclusion, that this egg is in fact a piece of poop, they are instantly overwhelmed with excitement and pleasure.  I know this from firsthand knowledge; upon hearing this song, I remembered back when was young.  Probably sometime in grade school, I had recited this song to my little brother, who was two years younger than me.  With a great amount of smugness I then had confided that Robin didn’t really lay an egg, but pooped.  Because of me, I felt, my brother was now “in the know.”  My brother was also quite pleased with his enlightenment, and proceeded to tell every individual around him of his new knowledge.

This rhyme was created sometime after the creation of the Batman comic books.  Since Robin and the Joker are mentioned, this rhyme could have been created anytime after 1940.  If it was created when Zak and I heard it in the 1990’s, it was probably sparked by the heightened increase in the character of Batman as sparked the by movies Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), and Batman Forever (1995).