During my brief tenure at Shmernwood Shmove, I noticed something fairly strange: a whole bunch of campfire songs are pretty dang morbid. Whether they’re explicitly recalling the death of a human, or describing the torturous murder of an innocent bumble bee, marshmallow toasting is deemed incomplete without an active participation in this macabre revelry. Don’t believe me? Here are my top five picks for wackiest, creepiest campfire songs. (Acknowledging that I attended camp for 3.5 weeks ELEVEN years ago, clearly the messages have stayed with me. Maybe all this explains the root of my obsession with true crime documentaries?)
- “Oom plucka plucka” I’ve started with my favorite song, a position it has rightfully earned because it’s both incredibly irreverent and deeply disturbing. That combination is something one might appreciate in a great, quasi-ironic gothic novel…but it’s a bit weirder sung at a high pitch by a bushel of 10-year-olds. In the song, a man tells his sweetheart that he loves her, but “Oh how he lied!” When she dies, unexpectedly, without any explanation, he only attends the funeral “just for the ride, just for the ride.” (You following this sweet rhyme scheme?) Anyway, THEN the girl’s “grave stone fell over and squish-squash he died, squish-squash he died, squish-squash he died.” WHAT!
- “Baby Bumble Bee” Why would you ever squish up the baby bumble bee that you had just seconds earlier prided yourself on obtaining? “Won’t my Mommy be so proud of me?” I don’t know! Is your name Ted Bundy?! Also, notice the trending word of the day: squish.
- “Nelly in the Barn” This song is the same exact line over and over and over again, and each time I find it grows more and more awful. It’s all about this cow that kicks some chick named “Nelly in the belly in the barn”. Hurts me physically to imagine a cow kicking me in the stomach, so I bet it didn’t feel great for Nelly the first time, nor the fifty successive times.
- “The Littlest Worm” I find this one more bizarre than morbid. Who swallows a worm
for fun? (To be fair, one of my best girlfriends swallowed a goldfish, but that was under more than suspicious circumstances. She scared the heck out of my youngest sister when she described the feeling of the fish swimming down her throat…) This kid was probably friends with the bumble bee killer.
- “Baby Shark” is on par with “The Littlest Worm”— it’s freaky campfire sing-a-long-song-lite. Not quite a boy being crushed by a tombstone, or a girl being kicked in the gut by a cow, but still, less than pleasing to imagine. We all have to recognize that this family of sharks attacks a swimmer, the swimmer loses an arm, the CPR doesn’t work and “Now you’re dead.” Hm. I can’t wait to send my child to camp!
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