Tag Archives: La cucaracha

Day 1: La Cucaracha

Okay, if you’ll remember, we’re doing this 25 songs, 25 days challenge – cause no way can any of us make an entire month here – in which we discuss songs.  Songs that are meaningful based on some random list of criteria, like songs that remind you of ex-boyfriends (anything by Taylor Swift will do, won’t it?) or your parents (I’m bettin’ on Twindaddy’s being “A Boy Named Sue”), etc.

First prompt asks for a song from your childhood AND an explanation of why you picked it.  In other words essay, not fill in the blank, students.  To that I say – what childhood?  I was raised by wolves until I was four.  Then I was captured by Disney and forced to slave 18 hours a day in a sweat shop making Mickey Mouse ears.  Until I escaped and ran away to Vegas where I made a living as a gambler and doled out advice to Kenny Rogers.  Know when to hold ’em.  Know when to fold ’em.

I bet Twindaddy doesn't even know how to play poker.  Wuss.

I bet Twindaddy doesn’t even know how to play poker. Wuss.

Okay, fine, my childhood was not that interesting.  I was born in 1976, back before The Internet.  Yea, truly, it wast the dark ages.  Back then we didn’t need artists like Lady Gaga to be bizarre.  We had Madonna and Cyndi Lauper and we were HAPPY, darn it.

At first I thought I would talk about Cyndi, cause I remember how much I loved her song “She Bop”.  I sang that song like I was the most awesome nine-year-old on the planet.  This was before I realized what the song was about.  Thanks a lot, Cracked.

Ooops I got it past the censors, boop boop!

Ooops I got it past the censors, boop boop!

Speaking of disillusionment, in kindergarten we all sang a song called “La cucaracha”, a charming little Spanish song about . . . wait, what?  Okay, here are the lyrics as I remember singing them as a child.

La cucaracha, La cucaracha

Blah blah blady blady blah

Yo do mo pretty

Oh yeah me quatro

La la la la la la la

Or something like that.  In other words, I had no idea what I was singing.  And likely neither did the teacher, unless she had some sort of twisted sense of humor.  Here are the Spanish lyrics I learned in Spanish class in high school (this was the coolest day of Spanish class ever).

La cucaracha, La cucaracha

Yo no puede caminar

Porque no tiene, porque le falta

Cigarillos de fumar

Translation? According to my Spanish teacher, this was a song about a prostitute who could not walk because she did not have her weed.  Cockroach was not a bug, it was another word for marijuana as in “Pass me that roach, man.”  Yet for some reason they use cigarettes in the last line.

Stoned hobo cockroach.  See, this is why I hate bugs.

Stoned hobo cockroach. See, this is why I hate bugs.

Anyway, just wow.  I mean, how on earth is this song even remotely appropriate for little kids?  I mean, sure we didn’t know what we were singing (we were a bunch of little whitey kids mostly) but seriously?  Then I started looking up tthe song on the Internet just now and guess what I found?  That wasn’t true EITHER.  I’m starting to feel like I did when I realized that Jeremiah the Bullfrog shared his mighty fine wine, not that we had a mighty fine time.  (Nice one, music teacher.)

It's also a dance!  That apparently you do stoned!

It’s also a dance! That apparently you do stoned!

I suppose technically it is hard to tell what is true, since there are so many versions.  Most of them use marijuana instead of cigarillos, so I didn’t even have the right Spanish lines.  Others (the cleaned up ones) just talk about a cockroach that loses its leg and can’t walk.  Another version is about a cockroach who has had too much weed and can’t walk.  I wonder if the cockroach smoked a bowl while Jeremiah drank?  If so, I bet they had a mighty fine time.

Joyyyyy to the worlllld mannnnn . . .

Joyyyyy to the worlllld mannnnn . . .

So what is the lesson I learned as a child from this “children’s song”?  You cannot trust adults, they will only lie to you.  And they won’t share their wine either.  Adults stink.  La la la!