Jingle Bells, Batman Smells…

Several uncredited elementary school ditties have been with us for generations. Who can forget “My Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Burning of the School” or “Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts?”

But perhaps my personal favorite is this Christmas classic about the Caped Crusader who cuts the cheese:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost its wheel
And the Joker got away

That’s not the way I learned it, though. For some reason, the way my brother taught it to me swapped out “And the Joker got away” with “And the Commissioner broke his leg.” Not sure what the good Commissioner was doing when he incurred his injury – rock climbing, perhaps? – but “leg” does rhyme with “egg,” whereas “away” does not. I’ve always been partial to the broken leg version, despite the fact that it has too many syllables to scan properly, given the established “Jingle Bells” meter.

Besides, Robert Goulet recorded it with the traditional lyrics, so the argument was over before it had even begun.


As far as I’m concerned, it’s a dead issue, over and done. But then my son Cornelius came home with a new, even stranger version, which is making the rounds in the schoolyards of today.

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid a gun
Shot a tree and made it pee
In 1981

Now, I must admit this fits the meter perfectly, and the rhyme scheme is flawless. Why Robin would “lay a gun” escapes me for the moment, but it has a vaguely postmodern feel to it, as does the idea of urinating trees from the early Eighties.

Could we be looking at a new Christmas classic? Or is it just sad that Robert Goulet never got a chance to record “Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts” in his lifetime?

Basketball for the Very Young
Surging Huckabee, Floundering Mitt

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