Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fuzzy Wuzzy Lost His . . . What?

Today's CD's seem to spin around under a closed door at warp speed.  I am sorry for modern kids who will never get to watch the mesmerizing revolutions of those little yellow grooved 78-rpm records or their close relatives, the 45's, into which we either had to insert a plastic adapter to fit the spindles of our little suitcase-style record players or twist up an apparatus on the player itself to accommodate the 45s' larger center hole.  Fellow Boomers, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  Youngsters, you won't, but please keep reading anyway.  This is really not a piece about record players.

Rather, it is about little kids and singing and the fun things we can do with words to make songs our own.  Of late, Sooby and Pooh have done much to remind me of these simple joys.  What, for instance, might Old MacDonald have on his farm instead of the usual animals?  He could have a cactus, with a stick-stick here and a stick-stick there and, well, you get the idea.  Does Little Bo Peep have trouble losing only her sheep, or might she also lose, say, her flip-flop?  Sorry if I am disturbing those well-established and deeply implanted childhood images you have carried around in your head all your life, but I am trying to prepare you for what is coming here.

Call me demented, but one of my favorite childhood songs, which I listened to again and again as it spun around in front of me at 45 rpm, was "Fuzzy Wuzzy."  Maybe you have heard it.  It goes something like this:

          Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
          Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
          Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?
          Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his mop
          In a North Pole barber shop.
          Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?

Sooby and Pooh love this song.  But I had sung it to each of them only a few times before they insisted on changing the lyrics to reflect their unique little worldview.

Sooby, who heard the song first, simply could not stand the idea of a world in which a bear would be without hair.  Thus, her variation of the song had to correct this obvious deficiency:

          Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
          Fuzzy Wuzzy had some hair.
          Fuzzy Wuzzy was fuzzy, wasn't he?

As for the original song's details on how Fuzzy had purportedly lost his mop, she simply chose to ignore them.  We had to skip that part when we sang.  If a bear was not going to be hairy like he was supposed to be, she didn't want to hear about it.

The last time I sang this song with Pooh, however, it took on some new dimensions that the original songwriter could never have imagined.  It was Pooh's job to decide what new body part Fuzzy Wuzzy would lose next; it was my mission to find a silly rhyme that would make the new lyrics work within the established meter of the song.  Here are some of our variations of Lines 4 and 5 of the original song:
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his nose./Sprayed it with a garden hose.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his lip/On a big black pirate ship.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his mouth./He went north and it went south.         
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his knee/Climbing up an apple tree.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his leg./Found it in an Easter egg.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his arm/In the woods on Pa-pa's farm.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his chin./Found it, then it left again.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his ear./After that, he couldn't hear.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his head./Found it underneath the bed.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his eye./Baked it in a cherry pie.  (I know--gross!) 
I will stop while I'm ahead.  My point is that Pooh absolutely loved this silly game.  He loved thinking up new body parts for the song, and, as for some of those he suggested, I will leave them to your imagination.  Keep in mind that he is a boy, and even at age 2 1/2 this seems to influence his worldview.

I loved it too--the one-on-one time with him, the wordplay, the idea of our creating something unique together.  We began with a silly song and gained a rich and beautiful bonding experience.  As far as I can tell, the only one who lost was Fuzzy Wuzzy himself--and by the time we were finished, I have to admit, he had lost just about everything.     



  1. Too cute! My dad used to recite the Fuzzy Wuzzy poem to me, but I don't know it as a song.

  2. I love all your added lyrics! Fuzzy Wuzzy was one of my favorites, too!

  3. oh my I remember the 45's and spindles...this just took me back to 6th grade or so !

  4. My goodness you all have the imaginations don't you? How fun this would be for all. Loved every word of it as usual:) How about a childrens book written like that? That would be so fun! Let me know when you publish it :D