Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Wed May 30 17:23:16 UTC 2001

--On Wednesday, May 30, 2001 1:00 PM +0800 Laurence Horn
<laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:

>> Hitler
>> Has only got one ball;
>> Goering
>> Has two but very small;
>> Himmler
>> Is somewhat sim'lar;
>> But poor old Goebbels
>> Has got none at all.
>> There are several variants on the Web.
> Indeed.  I checked once but can't remember if any preserve the
> version from my own childhood, which (the march, not the childhood)
> was colored by two relevant factors:
> (1) Since I was born in 1945, the song was cast in past tense.
> (2) Since I was in an American English environment, the past tense of
> possession could only be "had", not "had got".  ("Hitler had only got
> one ball" is impossible.)
> So for us it was:
> Hitler
> Had only one, left, ball
> Goering
> Had two but they were small
> Himmler
> Had something sim'lar
> And Goebbals
> Had no balls
> At all.
> I wondered at the time why it was considered a noteworthy situation
> for the Fuehrer to have had only one left testicle, since the same
> configuration applied to me and as far as I knew to other males.  So
> I figured it must denote (in the language of our thread)
> 'semi-endowed in the testicular area', and must specifically mean
> something like "had only one ball, i.e. the left one".  Whence the
> non-restrictive commas in the representation above.  Does anyone else
> recall having to work this puzzle through?
> larry

The version I learned was modernized and Americanized in just the same ways
as Larry's version, but someone apparently fixed the logical problem with
the first line before the ditty reached my ears, simply by deleting the
word "left."  At least I assume that's what happened, since the scansion,
and thus the fit with the music, suffers as a result.  The version (which
lodges itself in my brain again every time our @#*!! carillon strikes up
"Colonel Bogey") is:

Had only one...ball
Had two but one was small
Had something simmler
But Goebb(a)ls
Had no balls
At all.

So now it's stuck in my head again for at least the rest of the day.
Thanks, folks!

Peter Mc.

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at

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