And psycho was his name-o

Kevin Cowherd

February 19, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

It's 6:30 in the morning and from the hallway comes the sounds of "Bingo Was His Name-O," a clear sign that the day holds little promise.

As anyone who has ever heard it knows, "Bingo Was His Name-O" is the most irritating children's song in history.

Even by the most liberal standards, it's a particularly sappy song that induces a dull pounding in the forehead and a general feeling of anxiety in the hardiest adult listener.

Naturally, it has become the favorite song of my youngest son, who received a "Bingo" tape as a gift last week.

Unfortunately, even though the boy is only 21 months old, he's learned to put the tape in his little Fisher-Price tape player and hit the "start" button.

This he does 15 or 20 times a day, to the point where it feels as if I've stumbled upon some unholy video of "The Best of Bingo was His Name-O."

At first I considered binding the boy's little arms with strong rope, which would prevent him from working the tape player.

But my wife said the neighbors would talk if we did that. And pretty soon the child welfare people would be snooping around, and maybe even the police.

So I tried hiding the tape. This threw the boy into such a massive depression that I gave the tape back an hour later.

All I could envision was the boy sprawled on a sleek Scandinavian leather couch in a therapist's office 20 years from now, sobbing: " . . . and then he wouldn't give my 'Bingo' tape back, which is one reason I eventually turned to heroin."

For those unfamiliar with the lyrics to "Bingo Was His Name-O," but who would like to experience the full nauseating effect (if only in print), the song goes like this:

"There was a farmer had a dog.

"And Bingo was his name-o.




"And Bingo was his name-o."

There. Now maybe you're thinking: "OK, that first verse was a little shaky. But I'm sure the second and third verses are more, um, inspiring."

Wrong. There is no second or third verse.

There is only one verse -- at least on this tape. One annoying verse about the stupid farmer and his stupid dog, a verse which burrows into your brain and plays over and over on some silent loop until you . . . well, you just want to scream.

As I said earlier, "Bingo" is far and away the most irritating children's song ever recorded.

People say to me: "How 'bout 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm?' There's a song that'll get on your nerves, with the quacking and the mooing and all."

Hah! Look, "Old MacDonald" sounds like "Born to be Wild" compared to "Bingo."

"Mary Had a Little Lamb," "This Old Man," "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" . . . none of them comes close to generating the free-floating angst caused by "Bingo," a song that might well have been composed while the author sat in a paint shed inhaling cleaning fluid.

Anyway, as bad as things were with this "Bingo" tape, two days ago they took a sudden turn for the worse.

I came home that day and heard a terrible barking emanating from the rec room. Within seconds, the barking combined with music to take on a hauntingly familiar cadence, and here again came the dull pounding in my head.

Mother of God, it was a . . . a new version of "Bingo!" A version in which -- stay with me here -- they actually have a dog barking out the chorus!

Well. To be honest with you, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. The room started to spin, and a little voice inside my head whispered: "Run! There is evil here!"

It turned out that my sister had sent the kids some new tapes, and one of the tapes was this . . . this doggie version of "Bingo." It goes like this:

"There was a farmer had a dog,

"And Bingo was his name-o,

"Wroof, wroof, wroof, wroof, wroof.

"Wroof, wroof, wroof, wroof, wroof,

"Wroof, wroof, wroof, wroof, wroof,

"And Bingo was his name-o."

Let me ask you something: What kind of a sick human being forces a dog to bark along to music?

Where were the animal rights people on this one? If a rat drops dead on a treadmill in some god-forsaken cosmetics-testing lab, the animal-huggers will throw a picket line around the place so fast it'll make your head spin.

But here are dogs -- beagles, Irish setters, who knows what other breeds -- being herded into a recording studio and possibly threatened with cattle prods and told to "BARK, DAMMIT, BARK!" for some stupid children's song -- and nobody says a word!

I'm sorry, that just doesn't seem right.

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