There are no exact matches to the rhyme that I used as a kid. The closest that I found was turned into a song by some band I've never heard of called The Number 12 Looks Like You or something. But it's not 100% right. Indeed, their version doesn't even make sense.
Engine engine number 9 going down Chicago line engine off the Track, do you want your money back?
Y-e-s spells yes, not because you're dirty, not because you're clean,
Just because you kissed a girl behind a dirty magazine"
The version we did as children was "Engine engine number 9, going down Chicago line, if that train falls off that track do you want your money back?"
Compare that to the one in the song. It doesn't even make grammatical sense.
Then yeah, somebody says "yes" or "no" and then "yes" or "no" is spelled out. So it's, "Y-E-S (or N-O) spells 'yes' (or 'no') and you are not it, you dirty, dirty dishrag you."
But the song does that magazine ending. As far as I'm concerned, that's a seperate and optional ending for any of these rhymes. "Not because you're dirty, not because you're clean, just because you kissed a girl behind a dirty magazine."
Interestingly, most references to this ending rhyme just refer to a magazine. Not a dirty magazine. Indeed, a guy on this forum says that he learned the rhyme in 1947 in the Bronx and it was just a magazine.
So maybe a regional thing. But this band that I've never heard of is from New Jersey and use the dirty magazine. So maybe it's a generational thing.
Also, I've seen this rhyme using "B&O Line" or something instead of "Chicago Line". Again, I suspected that that was a New York thing but this New Jersey band used Chicago Line.
Of some additional intrigue is that most of the search results say "just because you kissed a boy" instead of "girl". Again, the band used the version I'm familiar with.
I'm surprised that nobody ever got in trouble for this rhyme. It references erotica. Not that I ever made the connection. I thought that it was literally a soiled magazine.
Somebody should write a book on this. They were obviously passed down from generation to generation of kids. And it travelled across the country. There are perhaps regional differences and/or generational differences but it's like Chinese Telephone (or "Chinese Whispers" in the UK). It changes with each iteration.
And this was before the internet, of course. So there was no standardisation. No authority to look up. They weren't written down either. Couldn't go to the library and look up the correct rhyme.
I wonder if kids still use these rhymes today. Maybe very young kids. But there's surely an app now that picks teams. A random number generator.
Everyone who did it except me was a complete idiot anyway. I did it mythotically: by sylable. Each sylable was a different person. So as long as you start with the same person and choose the right "yes/no" answer or number of pieces of bubble gum in the dish, you'd arrive at the same person every time.
But everyone else just spun their finger around at random (more or less) and whenever the rhyme stopped, that was the person. But of course, it's easy to doctor these results by not being completely random.
The problem is that these dopes didn't know what a sylable was. Their reading/spelling/whatever ability was poor. So they couldn't do it by sylables.
Let's message this Asian woman. Oh, also got a random message from a woman with one picture. Not a looker. And I think that's her child who's cut off from the picture. She just says "hello " But women who reply first? Very desperate. I wasn't going to message her at all. Still probably won't. Her profile just says, "I just want to meet a good person." It's a fine sentiment, I guess, but suggests bitterness.
So...Hsu...wants to know if I have family in the US. Answer: yes. But what else can I say...man. At least I'm only sending one message a day. I should ask if she's up for doing something. This is the third day, after all.
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