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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"It's Not Because You're Dirty" Line In Apple On A Stick Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Updated November 13, 2018]

This is Part II of a two part series that focuses on the children's rhyme verse "It's not because you're dirty, it's not because you're clean/ it's not because you kissed a boy/ behind a magazine".

Part II showcases some text (word only) examples and videos of the American originated rhyme "Apples On A Stick" as a means of documenting how those rhymes have changed over time and in different geographical locations.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-its-not-because-youre-dirtyits-not.html Part I of this series. Part I examines the Irish children's chant "Ahem Ahem Me Mother Has Gone To Church".* That chant includes a precursor for the verse "It's not because you're dirty, it's not because you're clean/ it's not because I kissed a boy/ behind a magazine" verse that is found in the large family of "Apple On A Stick" children rhymes.

The Addendum to Part I also provides some information and comments about old attitudes about margarine and whooping cough, both of which are mentioned in that Irish children's composition.

*This post was republished with some revisions because the link to the 2014 post was no longer working.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who are featured in the videos that are embedded in this post. Thanks also to the publisher of that video on YouTube.

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A PRECURSOR TO THESE RHYME AND CHANGES TO THESE RHYMES
The Irish children's chant "Me Mother Has Gone To Church" is a precursor of the American originated rhyme that is generally known as "Apple On A Stick"

ME MOTHER HAS GONE TO CHURCH
(Irish Kids' Chant)

Ahem! Ahem!
Me mother is gone to church.
She told me not to play with you
Because you're in the dirt.
It isn't because you're dirty,
It isn't because you're clean,
It's because you have the whoopin' cough
And eat margarine!
- http://www.mamalisa.com/?p=422&t=es&c=68
-snip-
A commenter on that website wrote that this is the Irish children's rhyme "Me Mother Has Gone To Church".

The Irish folk music recording artists The Clancy Brothers included this rhyme in their 1963 Carnegie Hall concert along with other Irish children's rhymes.

"Me Mother Has Gone To Church" reflects the negative attitudes that are now largely retired that butter was considered to be a better product than margarine and anyone used margarine instead of butter was poor. "Me Mother Has Gone To Church" also reflects the also retired belief that only poor people got whooping cough. In the United States negative attitudes about margarine have shifted to at least neutral attitudes about that product. And, as a result of immunizations, most people in the United States (rightly or wrongly) are no longer concerned with the possibility of a whooping cough epidemic.

Because of these developments, the "It's because you've got the whooping cough and eat margarine" line in children's songs is no longer understandable. Consequently, that line has been retired, and is scarcely remembered nowadays. However, the "It's not because you're dirty", not because you're clean" line is still found in "Apple On A Stick" rhymes with the ending line "it's not because you [and later "I"] kissed a boy behind a magazine". Of course, "kissing a boy" (even behind a magazine) was considered risque, as were other lines in those rhymes such as describing a person as having a "fat bum" (butt), and a boy walking around with his pants undone.

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THREE PRE- 1990S EXAMPLES OF "APPLE ON A STICK" RHYMES
These examples are given in no particular order:

Example #1:
Green apples make me sick
not because they're dirty
not because they're clean
not because the girls kiss like this (kiss noise)
my mom told me to pick the very best one
and you are not it today
- http://www.playgroundjungle.com/2009/12/counting-out-rhymes.html
-snip-
The editor of that website indicated that this was a counting out rhyme that he remembered from his kindergarten days. No decade or geographical location was given.

My guess is that "apple on a stick/makes me sick" is a folk processed form of the line "green apples make me sick". By "folk processed" I mean that the "green apples make me sick" words were misheard or mis-remembered as "apple on a stick/makes me sick".

**
Example #2:
Apple on a stick
Makes me sick
Makes my tummy go
Two forty six
Not because it’s dirty
Not because it’s clean
Not because I kissed my momma
Behind the magazines
Girls, girls
Do you wanna fight?
Here come Dickey
With her pants on tight.
She can wiggle
She can woggle
She can do all that
I bet you ten dollars
You can’t do this
Count to ten with your eyes closed
A-baby one
A-baby two
A-baby three, four, five
Baby, I don’t take no little jive
A-baby six
A-baby seven
A-baby eight, nine, ten
You better back it up and do it again
Source: Apples On A Stick Barbara Michels and Bettye White (New York: Coward / McCann, Inc)
collection of playground rhymes from Black children in Houston Texas, 1983, page 11
-snip-
No category of children's rhyme was given.
“jive” here means something like nonsense, fakeness
“back it up" usually means dancing or moving backwards while facing forward

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Example #3:
"I used to spend recesses against the wall for jumping out of the swings in mid-air, and playing tag on the tornado slide, and the girls jumped the rope on the wide walkway there. Here [is one rhymes} that I recall hearing, but the words may be out of order, as this was a while ago.

Apples on a stick, make me sick (slick?).
make my arms (heart?) go two-four-six!
It's not because i'm dirty
It's not because i'm clean
It's not because I kiss the boys
behind a magazine (behind a _____ machine?)
Hey girls, let's have fun!
Here comes a cop with his (vest?) undone!
He can shammey he can shake
He can do the hoochie-koo
But I bet a dollar he can't catch you!
One, two, three, etc.....

Chanted to a double jumprope, I heard this on the schoolyard in Spirit Lake, Iowa around 1982-5. The count continued untill the jumproper missed a lick."
-Neighmond (Chaz J), http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=56361 "Folklore: Skipping Rhymes & Playground Games"

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PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY
I'm not sure when the "Apple On A Stick" rhymes were first composed, but I believe that these rhymes were probably first chanted in the United States as a counting out rhyme or as a jumping rope rhyme.

As is the case with most jump rope rhymes, by at least the early 1980s, Apple On A Stick rhymes converted to two person hand clap rhymes (hand games). And, judging from the considerably large number of examples of "Apple On A Stick" rhymes that are found online, that rhyme appears to be mostly used as a hand game in the United States, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

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FEATURED VIDEOS
These YouTube videos provide a very small sample of the wide range of contemporary examples of "Apple On A Stick" rhymes. These videos are given with very little editorial comment. Some of the comment threads for these videos contain additional examples of these rhymes.

Transcriptions by Azizi Powell unless given as a summary statement to the video. Additions and corrections are welcome.

WARNING: The comment sections for these YouTube videos may include profanity and other content that is inappropriate for children.

These videos are posted in chronological order with the oldest dated videos presented first.

November 13, 2018: Some of these videos are no longer available. However, I haven't replaced them because their transcriptions may still be of interest.

Example #1: Apple on a Stick

)

nattamon khrongsiriwat, Uploaded on Dec 8, 2010
Apple on a Stick:
Apple on a stick
Makes me sick
Makes my heart beat 2-4-6

Not because your dirty
Not because your clean
Not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine

Babies, babies having fun
Along comes a baby with a big fat bum

He can do the Wibble Wobble he can do the Splits
But I betcha, I betcha he can't do this

Close your eyes and count to 10
If you muck it up your not my friend

(close eyes)1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
(open eyes) You didn't muck it up so your still my friend...

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Example #2: " Apple on a Stick " Hand clapping game

)

LivingHealthyAus, Published on Nov 2, 2012

Louise and Reese playing " Apple on a Stick " Hand clapping game. [Australia]
-snip-
Here are the words to this example:

Apple on a stick
Make me sick
Makes my heart beat 246
Not because you’re dirty
Not because you’re clean
Not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine
Girls, boys having fun
Here comes a girl with the blueberry bum
She can wiggle she can wobble she can do the twist
But I betcha I betcha she cant do this
Count to ten with your eyyyes* shut
If you mess up, start again.
1,2, 4, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, 10
You didn’t mess up, now she’s your girlfriend
That’s the end of chapter 10
Bam!

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Example #3: Apple on a stick hand clapping rhyme

)

Bernardfam2006, Published on Jun 19, 2013
-snip-
Here are the words to this example:

Apple on a stick, it makes me sick.
It makes my heart beat 2 46.
Not because you’re dirty, not because you’re clean
Not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine
Girls, boys have a lot of fun
Here comes a lady with a pickle up her butt
Close your eyes and count to ten
If you can’t, you start again
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
You didn’t muck it up so you’re my friend
But it’s not the end of the chapter 10
AMEN!

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Example #4: Apple on the stick hand clapping game

)

Spaceman, Published on Jan 3, 2014

Playing apple on the stick with my younger brother
-snip-
Here's the words to this rhyme (This is a sub-category of "Apple On A Stick" in which the players are challenged not to say a particular number)

Apple on a stick, it makes me sick.
It makes my heart beat 246.
Not because I’m dirty, not because I’m clean
Not because I lay my hand behind a magazine
Girls, boys having fun
Here comes a lady with a big fat bum
She can rock it, she can roll it she can do the splits
I betcha I betcha she can’t do this
Close your eyes and count to ten
if you say number 9 you’re not my friend
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
You didn’t say nine so I’m you’re friend
And this is the end of chap ter TEN

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ADDENDUM
Reinforcing the change from the earlier use of the "not because you're dirty/clean line", a number of examples that I found on YouTube comment threads of "Apple On A Stick" videos) have changed the line to "it's not because I'm dirty/clean". Example #4 contains that "I'm dirty/clean" line. Here's another example that has been reformatted for this page:

"Apple on a stick you make me sick
you make my heart go 2/46
its because im dirty its not because im clean
its not because I kissed a boy behind a magizeen.
Heyy boy! You wanna have a fight?
meet me at the club on a saturday night.
If you say 0 your otta the game
so lets get ready for the chu chu train."

And you keep counting intill someone says 0.
- Caitlin Callahan,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sygUDQzShdM , "Apple On A Stick", 2013
-snip-
That example is also a part of the sub-category of "Apple On A Stick" in which the players are challenged not to say a particular number.

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MORE EXAMPLES OF "APPLE ON A STICK" [added November 2018]
These examples are given in no particular order, and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRrRWg4pEWs
1. Kerry-ann Sharkey, 2018
"I live in Scotland and we do it like "apple on a stick, gonna make me sick, gonna make my heart beat 2,4,6 not because your ugly, not because your clean, not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine, boys, girls, having all the fun, here comes Charlie with his button undone, he can do the splits but I bet you ten bucks that he can't do this, close your eyes and count to ten if you mess up then start again,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 you didn't mess up so your my beat friend" "

**
2. Audrey Draws, 2018
"In england it goes like:

Apple on a stick, gonna make me sick, gonna make my heartbeat, 2,4,6. Not because you're dirty, not because you're clean. NOT because you kissed the boy behind the magazine. Boys, boys. They're no fun, but here comes the girl with the blue jeans on, they can wiggle, they can wobble, they can do the splits, but I bet you 10 bucks that you can't do this! 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, you didn't mess up, so you're my friend!"

**
3. Karly Fisher, 2018
"I know there are a lot of different ways he in Australia yeah Australia mate we say apple on a stick makes me sick makes my heart beat 246 not because your dirty not because you’re clean not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine girls boys having fun here comes the teacher with a big fat bum she can leave or Second World War she can do the splits but I bet you 10 bucks she can’t do this close your eyes and count to 10 if you muck up you’re not my friend 123456 78 910 you didn’t muck up so you’re my friend best friends"

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sygUDQzShdM
4. Softiie, 2015
"
I learned it like this : apples on a stick they make me sick makes my heart beat go 246 not because your dirty not beacuse your clean not beacuse you kissed a boy behind a magizen hey _ you wanna have a fight meet me on a corner on a saturday night i can do the zumba you can do the twist i bet you 5 bucks you cant do this close your eys and count to ten and if you mess up you have to kiss your boyfrien"

**
5. Olivia Mew, 2014
"Here's the version that I was taught:

Apple on a stick, makes me sick. Makes my heart beat 246. Not because you're dirty, not because you're clean. Not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine. Boys, boys, having fun, here comes the girl with the blue jeans on. She can wibble, she can wobble she can do the splits, but I bet you, i bet you, she can't do this. Count to ten with her eyes shut, if she mucks it up she's got to start again. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. She didn't muck it up so now she's our friend and that's the end of chapter 10!"

**
6. Queen Iyanna, 2017
"I was taught

Apple on a stick
You make my sick
You make my heart go 246(2x)
Not because I'm dirty
Not because I'm clean
Not because I kissed your boy behind a magazine
So hey shorty
You wanna start a fight?
Meet me in the club on Saturday night
And if you say two your out of the game
So let's get started on the chu chu train"

**
7. samantha gimenez, 2018
"Apple on a stick
You make me sick
You make my heart go 24-6
Not because i’m pretty
Not because i’m clean
Not because i kissed a boy in a magazine
Heeeyy Jonny
You wanna have a fight?
Meet me at the club on saturday night
If you say Zero
Your out of the game
So let’s get started on the Choo Choo train.

and basically after that you count up, but you can’t say any number with zero in it or your out."

**
8. Cordelia Whitehead, 2017
"The way I learnt was
Apple on a stick it makes me sick it makes my heart beat 246 not because youre dirty not because you're clean just because you kissed the boy behind the magazine, girls boys having fun here comes the lady with the big fat bum, she can do the pom pom she can do the splits but I bet you 5 bucks she can't do this close your eyes and count to ten if you muck it up you're not my friend, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, you didn't muck it up so you're still my friend next one to move is a bumblebee bet you 5 bucks it won't be me"

**
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2W7hY3K1fA
9. Unixorn GirlYt, 2017
"that's wrong it's
Apple on the stick
make me sick
make my heart go
246 not because I'm dirty not
because I'm clean
not because I kiss the boy behind the magazine
boys ...... girls.......having fun
there comes a lady with a prickle on her bum
she can do the Nana
she can do the wip
I bet she can't count to ten if she muck it up she's not my Best friend 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
your my best friend "
-snip-
"Nana" is probably the R&B?Hip Hop dance "the Nene" [pronounced naynay] and "wip" is the R&B/Hip Hop dance "the whip"

**
10.
Okey x, 2018
"How I learned it is

Apples on a stick they make me sick they make my heart go 246-246 not because I’m dirty not because I’m clean not because I kissed a boy behind a magazine hey girls you wanna have some fun? Here comes a boy with his pants undone he can wiggle he can wobble he can do the splits but most of all he can’t do this close your eyes and count to 10 if u say 9 u have to marry him 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-10"

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This concludes Part II of this two part series.

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Visitor comments are welcome.



2 comments:

  1. my mother and your mother were hanging out clothes;
    my mother punched your mother right in the nose;
    What color blood came out?
    Red!... R.E.D. spells red and out- you -do -go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just read this comment more than three years later.

      Thanks Anonymous for sharing that example of another widely known children's rhyme.

      Delete