Forging friendship over a chicken noodle groin

Severe diarrhoea, ending in a horrible death. That’s what dysentery is, and it’s what most people died of on the Oregon trail, according to the video game.

Bit of a bummer.

Bit of a bummer.

In reality it was cholera that was the most prolific disease. Cholera was similar to its pal dysentery – except that as well as the explosive pooing, you also vomited your way to the grave.

Imagine being trapped in a wagon with your whole family as they slowly all crap themselves to death. You can understand why they took along a banjo or two to sing some songs. While Aunt Mildred is spraying from both ends it can’t hurt to drown out the sound with some folky hymns.

As well as covering up the sound of gastronomic problems, singing releases endorphins and lowers blood pressure. As your wagon bumps along the trail, familial vomit pooling on the floor, your relaxed and happy demeanour will help you through.

During our recent travels through Europe, TJ and I would often sing to alleviate stress. As we walked up hills in thirty degree heat, we’d hum familiar tunes, enjoying the camaraderie and bonding it would bring.

See how little we hate each other? All thanks to the music.

See how little we hate each other? All thanks to the music.

“Here I am!”, I would begin.
“I ain’t got a dick, I got a chicken noodle can”, TJ would follow.

Together, we’d continue:

“All my life
I’ve been putting this can inside my chicken noodle wife.”

(Sitting on seven-hour train journeys with nothing but a backlog of Harmontown podcasts had given us a unique set of songs to sit along to.)

It didn’t end with the chicken noodle man having unsatisfying sex with his chicken noodle wife. We also added Pringles Dick to our set list, a song with a similar theme of a man sporting a snack-based penis. The gist, if you aren’t familiar, is that a chap is stuck with the nickname “Pringles dick”, yet feels at a loss to explain the reasoning behind it.

Some people call me Pringles dick, but I never really found out why.

He goes on to examine the situation, explaining that he simply stores his organ inside a (presumably empty) Pringles can to ensure it stays free from water and remains secure.

I don’t really have a Pringles dick, I just keep my dick inside
I keep my dick inside a Pringles can, because it keeps my penis safe and dry.
Some people call me Pringles dick, but I never really found out (no, I never found out)
I never really found out why.

The first time we bought Pringles overseas was at the Vatican City. Despite the super-religious-and-very-serious vibe the place seemed to promote, we felt a duty to pay homage to one of our favourite tunes with a photo.

You'd never believe he was raised a Catholic.

You’d never believe he was raised a Catholic.

A few weeks later we were in York, and we ended up at a very small and terrifying pub. We walked in and were greeted with silent stares, the burly tattooed men suspicious of the new arrivals with their own teeth. We ended up out the back, sitting at a table with two men from Glasgow. One was young and cocky, the scar on his arm suggesting he wasn’t the type to run from a fight. The other was older, wiser, and far more drunk. He moved like his centre of gravity was being toyed with by opposing bored magnets, his nose a deep and angry red, with a transport map of purple veins. Our conversation began with him slurring with a heavy Scottish accent, me replying “what?”, so to make things easier, he put an arm around my shoulder and shouted everything into my ear.

After a few pints and some confusing shouting about building railroads in Australia, the men treated us to a song – a Scottish ditty their grandfathers might have sung. Stuck without remembering any traditional New Zealand songs – with no Pokarekare Ana at the ready, forgetting the verses to I’m an Utter Peanut Butter Nutter, we launched into Chicken Noodle Man.

Come on, Sanitarium. Bring the jingle back.

Come on, Sanitarium. Bring the jingle back.

Two lines in and our drunk friend hit the table hard with his palm.

“I love this song!” he shouted, continuing to hit the table with a rhythmic smack, keeping time with palm against wood.

As we sang about the chicken noodle god coming down from the mountain, he cackled to himself and to his younger friend. “Great song! Chicken noodle! I love those chicken noodles!”

Knowing that he probably wouldn’t have ever used a computer, let alone understood what a podcast was, we didn’t try to explain the song’s origin. We just taught him the words. Sure, we may not have had the glamour and excitement of an infectious intestinal disease. But we had friendship, we had beer, and we had songs about men with cylindrical genitals.

And with that, we didn’t need anything else.

How to get away with lip synching about thick chicks in public

I am not cool.

People ask if I’ve heard the new song by whoever, and I have to stop them, because unless whoever has been recording ditties for at least ten years, I won’t know who they are.

When friends are giving me directions, I need them to relate it to the nearest fast food place. It’s no good to say “it’s next to Mishmosh”, because, what, excuse me, is that code for something? But tell me “opposite Burger King on Courtenay”, and I’ll see you at that hip new bar.

I just used the word ‘hip’.

This is my version of a VIP room.

This is my version of a VIP room.

So when I discover something that could be considered legitimately cool, I get that panicked excited feeling in my stomach. Like when you go to the bakery and there’s only one fresh cream doughnut left, and there’s one person ahead of you in the queue, and are they going to take it or aren’t they, and it’s exciting and scary and you aren’t sure if it’s odd that you’re kind of turned on.

A few months ago, I listened to the WTF podcast interview with Donald Glover, because I adore him on Community.  He talked about Childish Gambino (his rap alter ego), and I remembered having seen him perform on Jimmy Kimmel.

Podcasts. Community. Jimmy Kimmel. My introduction to the oeuvre of a rapper came about in the nerdiest way possible.

After watching some YouTubes I was totally hooked. He rapped about girls and Rugrats and fame and Rashida Jones and The Office, and I could not get enough. A month later and I knew most of the words.

This was fine, when I’d sing along in my bedroom, alone. I’d even self-bleep anytime he dropped the n-word – this added a secondary level of difficulty, but as a white girl horrified at the thought of doing something racist, it was my only option.

Singing along became less fine when I would listen to it on my headphones, walking around the city. I cannot have “You wanna see my girl? I ain’t that dumb. You wanna see my girl? Check Maxim” play through my pink headphones without at least lip synching along. Turns out, people look at you strangely when you’re mouthing stuff to yourself on the street. Concerned about my reputation around Wellington, I tried a few methods to hide my public singing.

I apologise to Donald Glover for any cool points he loses by being mentioned in this post.

I apologise to Donald Glover for any cool points he loses by being mentioned in this post.

Walking in the dark, and finding quiet, one-way streets with little traffic seemed to work well, then I wondered if I was compromising my personal safety because I wanted to rap about girl’s bottoms, so I stopped doing that.

Finding an excuse to touch your face so you can hide behind your hand might work for one or two lines, but speaking into your own palm while scratching your forehead is even crazier than just moving your mouth, so I abandoned that too.

Faking a yawn will get you through one line. Faking three yawns in a row will make your jaw hurt.

Keeping your mouth open, jaw slack, so you can click your tongue against the roof of your mouth, technically works. It also makes you look like a mother bird regurgitating worms for her young.

After a week I realised that I’d probably damaged my reputation more by walking around doing unintentional vomiting bird impressions than I would have just lip synching. I gave up and decided to stop worrying about it. Sunglasses on, striding through the city streets, so into my music that I just HAD to mouth along – this was living!

Of course, my brain can’t cope with having things be happy. It needs something to fret over to keep itself busy. To compensate for my comfort and happiness, Kate’s Bad Side started to push the limits. I found myself starting to emote more and more. I figured people were being overly judgemental with their judgemental eyes, until I walked past a shop window and saw myself doing this:

Look out for my upcoming coffee table book.

Look out for my upcoming coffee table book.

Now I’m back in a state of confusion about the whole thing. Do I restrict myself to listening in private? Or do I embrace the crazy and continue to wander the streets looking like I’m doing twisted, Jim-Carrey-inspired facial exercises?

Given that I barely hesitated before posting those images online, I think we all know which side will win out in the end.