The other day my son, “A”, came home from a friend’s house and told me that he and his pal had found “the funniest thing ever” on YouTube.
Just the words, YouTube, have the power to strike fear into the hearts of moms of innocent children, but we had recently discussed the types of words you do and don’t type into search engines after his classmate Googled “Justin Boober” and got quite a surprise, so I was hopeful that it couldn’t be that bad.
Me: “OK, let’s see it…”
Turns out, “the funniest thing ever” is an animated song about an irksome duck who repeatedly visits the local lemonade vendor and asks, “Got any grapes?” Well, of course not…he sells lemonade! The folksy, Arlo Guthrie-esque song was written and performed by Bryant Oden who has quite a viral following on YouTube – “The Duck Song” has over 130 million views.
Oden is a Colorado based teacher who began writing songs when he was just a kid himself. He’s not signed with a major (or minor) recording label he simply has a YouTube channel and a website – yet he’s managed to develop a worldwide fan-base with his songbook of roughly 80 silly and oddly appealing tunes. “The Duck Song” was so popular that it inspired two sequels –“Duck Song Part 2” and “Duck Song Part 3” – where he continues to annoy the lemonade stand man and other neighborhood peeps with continued appeals for grapes. Of course, this is totally relatable to kids and adults as when the duck finally gets the grapes, he doesn’t want them (sound familiar?).
A few of Oden’s other hits include; “Honey Bear” featuring an optimistic little bear cub who has trouble getting dressed. Honey Bear reminds listeners to keep sunshine in their heart – even when things are not going their way. In “I’ve Got Issues with Your Tissues,” he commiserates with grossed-out moms who don’t exactly enjoy picking up used Kleenex. And my personal favorite, ”I Got A Pea,” where Oden weaves a tale about a child who brings veggies to school for show-and-tell…and leaves a little pea on the floor – it’s very punny.
That afternoon, “A” and I spent about an hour listening to and laughing at Oden’s clever songs – something that is challenging to do with most of today’s top 40 hits.
We spend a lot of time in the car and “A” frequently asks me to put on the radio. Most of the time I’m cringing at the lyrics or replacing questionable words with my own (can someone please tell me when radio stations stopped bleeping out foul language in songs?). Of course I realize that the parent’s crusade against popular music is as old as the Victrola and most of the more risqué lyrics fly right over a 10 year-old’s head, but as a parent with a child on the verge of adolescence, I still feel as though I want to protect his innocence just a little bit longer. Really, does he need to know that Ke$sha brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels? Or that FloRida’s lady friends get low, low, low? Not just yet…I’ll take the duck, the bear and a little pea for as long as I can.