I was thinking today about childhood. Specifically, about the morbidity of children’s tunes. Does this at all make you wonder how my mind works? Here. I’ll give you a little comparison, you know, for funsies.
Normal person’s mind:
Hears “Oh, My Darling Clementine” – thinks, “aw, cute!” – continues on with his or her day.
Hears “Oh, My Darling Clementine” – thinks, “man, but do I hate citrus fruit” – thinks “but Clementine is certainly a fantastic name for a child” – thinks, “wait, ‘lost and gone forever,’ that’s totally dark, let’s look up the lyrics to that and analyze them and figure out what the hell’s going on here”
I’m not passing judgment on either mind. Just saying, there’s normal, then there’s shiny, ADD, and possibly a little crazy, that’s all.
OK, so “Oh, My Darling Clementine.” You think you know this song? HOLY HELL but there are a shitload of verses. YES I researched this, you thought I wouldn’t? Shame on you.
In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine.
OK, so far, so good. We have a miner and his daughter, Clementine. No problems. Cool cool cool.
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.
Well! Now we have some foreshadowing. OBVIOUSLY something bad’s about to happen to Clementine, whom we have just met, like, twenty SECONDS ago. And we know the singer loved her. Also, “lost and gone forever” is really, really dark. But also really poetic, and I love it a little. Also, were you aware that Clementine, the character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, was so named because of this very line in this very song? Because the procedure would, hypothetically, make her lost and gone forever to Jim Carrey’s character? Isn’t that lovely? I thought so. Also, so the woman you love dies, and all you can muster is “dreadful sorry?” You seem like a shitty suitor, sir. And possibly a sociopath.
Also. ALSO. Why are you singing kind of a boppy-ish song about a dead girl? It’s not even dirge-like. It’s catchy. Worrisome.
Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.
I like that she was light like a fairy, but also had what were, apparently back in the day (this was written in the late 1800s) HUGE HONKING FEET. I always liked this stanza, because those feet seemed so gigantic, and boxes “without topses” (hee! cute, and a nice way to do a slant rhyme!) as shoes was a funny visual. Karma, who did not like me laughing at imaginary women, gave me size nine feet once I finished growing. THEY’RE NOT THAT BIG SHUT UP.
Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev’ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.
So…the miners had ducklings? That they…herded? People herded ducklings? That seems silly. And virtually impossible, honestly. Like herding cats. Why didn’t they just KEEP them down by the water? Hmm. Also, ducklings are small, you couldn’t stick them in a burlap bag or something for your walk down to the water? And why at nine? Why such a rigid schedule for duckling-herding? “JUST at nine.” What would happen if she herded at 9:15? Like, would a meteor crash to earth or something?
Then she hit one of her gigantic honking feet against a “splinter” (yeah, I don’t know) and fell into the water. It’s “foaming brine.” So you were putting your ducklings into an oceanic waterfall pool or something? This duckling plan seems very ill-thought-out, Clementine.
Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.
So here she is, only her lips above the water, apparently with that lipstick on them that stays on NO MATTER WHAT YOU EAT OR DRINK (bee tee dubs, that stuff dries out your lips like a mofo, no joke, and always gets in the little cracks in your lips so you look deranged, stick to Dr. Pepper Lipsmackers, just a tip from me to you, and hey, Bonne Bell, I’ll gladly take any free product you want to send my way and review it GLOWINGLY here, just saying, I’ll whore myself for some Lipsmackers, anytime, anyplace!) and she was “blowing bubbles soft and fine” but lover boy can’t swim so she drowns. OK, so he has time to observe all the minutiae of her dying – her lips, her bubble-blowing, etc. – but he can’t call for help? He can’t scream, “CLEMENTINE IS DROWNING!” He can’t throw her a branch or a rope? Weren’t there other miners? I highly doubt the whole mining operation was run by Clementine and her dad. THIS IS THE WORST BOYFRIEND EVER. And also most definitely a sociopath, who likes to watch people suffer and die.
And he keeps singing his cheerful death-ditty. As sociopaths do.
Then this stanza happens. Now, Wikipedia tells me that this stanza is often left out, because it is “morally questionable.” I think that’s the least of our concerns here, Wikipedia. This dude let Clementine drown while he observed her death throes. SOCIO-EFFING-PATH. I think you might want to check his fridge for missing women’s body parts. Or whatever they had back then. Icebox, maybe?
How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.
WHAT? Yeah, it’s not so much “morally questionable” as it is “you are a gross creepy creeper.” Why are you obsessed with the Clementine family? So, you watched Clementine drown, while standing on the bank ankle-deep in ducklings, and then you were all, eh, whatevs, bored now, and you wandered off, and then you were like, “NEEDS ME SOME LOVIN’” so you went and macked on her little sister Tangerine? And how old, exactly, IS Tangerine? YOU ARE GROSS.
Where is Clementine’s dad in all of this? I think he’d put his miner 49er foot down and be all, “I’m pretty sure you could have saved my other daughter, gross creepy creeper, so how about you get away from my other fruit-named daughter, I’ve promised her to a suitor WHO TOTALLY CAN SWIM, sheesh. And is not a SERIAL KILLER OF LADIES.”
Now, in place of the gross “I totally humped her little sis on her grave when the ground was still soft” stanza, Wikipedia said these can be used as alternate lyrics, THANKS FOR THE PERMISSION WIKIPEDIA:
Then the miner forty-niner
He began to weep and pine
For his darling little daughter
Now he’s with his Clementine
So apparently in this alternate lyric, her dad died of…sadness? I guess? Whatever, that’s depressing, I hate that.
In a corner of the churchyard,
Where the myrtle boughs entwine,
Grow the roses in their poses,
Fertilized by Clementine.
EW. This gross suitor. Of COURSE he would think of the flowers being fertilized by Clementine. I’m pretty sure he has a box of “souvenirs” under his bunk. He seems like the type. GROSS. Also, “grow the roses in their poses?” Roses POSE?Are the roses contestants on America’s Next Top Model? Is Tyra going to tell them to smize?
Then the miner forty niner,
He began to peak and pine,
Thought he oughta join his daughter
Now he’s with his Clementine.
I assume in this one, the dad committed suicide. Or that’s what the unnamed suitor wants you to think. I’m pretty sure the suitor killed him and then made it LOOK like a suicide. I mean, there was no CSI then. Who would know? This guy was totally a serial killer and then WROTE SONGS ABOUT IT. I just solved a little-over-125-year-old serial killing. THIS IS VERY EXCITING. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even think this post was going this way when I started it. Who thought they’d make a huge difference in the world today? Not this lady, that’s who. I should totally be invited to join Dr. Spencer Reid’s team any…minute…now.
And, AND, how better to cover up a total double psychomurder than to act like you’re totally sad and start singing a song about “oh, boo hoo, my DARLING Clementine, I LOVED HER SO” and then all the ladies in their old-timey hoopskirts and whatever would be all “he’s so TORTURED and so EMO” and then you’d totally get away with – yeah, I’m going to say it – MURDER plus get all the old-timey clandestine love action. This guy had a PLAN, you guys. This guy was SLY.
Also, when poking around online like a total weirdo with nothing better to do, I found this:
So this band, NAMED My Darling Clementine, has an album called “How Do You Plead?” This is TOTALLY a clue. KILLERS ARE THE ONES WHO PLEAD. That points me DIRECTLY to the fact that Clementine’s suitor is a serial killer. I cracked this case so wide open you could drive an effing SEMI through it, yo.
In my dreams she still doth haunt me,
Robed in garments soaked in brine.
Though in life I used to hug her,
Now she’s dead, I’ll draw the line.
THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. Because the GHOST of Clementine is totally haunting the suitor/killer’s dreams. With her reeking, soaking garments. LOVE THIS. I wish she’d eat his face off with her snaggly dead teeth and be all, “Clementine wants to play WICHOOOOOO” like this was the Pet Sematery of the Gold Rush. I WOULD TOTALLY DIG THAT ENDING.
So, as you can see, I am the best serial killer profiler ever. Now, I can hear you there, saying, “Um, Amy, you ARE aware this song is FICTIONAL and that you didn’t really solve anything and…um…I think you might be losing…your…mind…” and to YOU I SAY, you can just BITE ME. I am the BEST AT THIS. Clementine is now AVENGED. As is her father, who we KNOW did not commit suicide. I just regret that I was too late to save poor orphaned Tangerine. If you have any other centuries-old mysteries you’d like me to solve, please send me a proposal. I’m probably going to be inundated so you might have to wait. I’ll get back to you. Eventually. I’ll be in pretty high demand. Don’t worry. I’ll remember you all once I’m totally the most famous. Dr. Spencer Reid and I will be very happy? So I’m sure I’ll be very, very busy? But I won’t forget you. TOTAL PINKIE SWEAR.