I remember years and years of singing Christmas songs. When my friends and I were all in grade school, we always had a concert for our parents near Christmas. With red and green ribbons around our necks, we all sung the classic holiday favorites, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized that the end verse was actually “You’ll go down in history.” We all sung it as “you go down in his (Rudolph’s) story.” I think that we all felt Rudolph actually had his own storybook.
By the time I was singing in our church choir, I saw that in the hymn “*Keep Thou My Way, O Lord” had the phrase ‘gladly the cross I’d bear,’ and was NOT ‘Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear.”
I became so interested in misinterpreted songs that I started looking for some real **Christmas bloopers” such as these:
- We three kings of porridge and tar.
- On the first day of Christmas, my tulip gave to me.
- Sleep in heavenly peas.
- He’s making a list, chicken and rice.
- You’ll go down in Listerine.
- Noel, Noel, Barney’s the King of Israel.
- Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap and hay.
- In the meadow we can build a snowman; then pretend that he is sparse and brown.
- Come, froggy faithful.
- Deck the halls with Buddy Holly.
This also got me thinking of other blooperish phrases. A dear friend of mine was a teacher for many years. One of her fellow teachers was in a meeting with her along with some of the parents. They were talking about something in the school system that needed to be fixed. Evidently there was a slight disagreement about how soon this situation should be addressed.
The fellow teacher was all for taking the time to do things correctly. He said that it shouldn’t be done in a “half-assed” way. After the meeting, my friend took him aside and told him that she was a bit surprised at his language during the meeting. He asked her what she meant, and she said, ‘you said things shouldn’t be done in a half-assed way.’
He said, ‘no, no; I said that things shouldn’t be done in a half-fast way.’ My friend set him straight on this phrase and he was horrified. He said that he had always thought the phrase was ‘half-FAST’ not ‘half-ASSED!’
I remember when I saw the Disney movie, the Lion King. In the beginning, that haunting and exalting song starts (in Zulu): “Nants ingonyama bagithai Baba (here comes a lion, Father!)” I swear it always sounded to me like “Jaaaaaaalepeno!”
It just goes to show you that things aren’t always as they sound.
*”Keep Thou My Way, O Lord,” by Fanny J. Crosby.
**From “Funny Christmas Songs”