The Law of the Playground
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eenie meenie minee mo
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The variant 'eenie meenie minee mo, catch a nigger by the toe', taught to me by the school's only black kid, should not be used in front of parents. Or in Clark's, no matter how hard it is to decide which shoes you want.
approved Sep 23 2003, submitted Jul 9 2003 by Matt Sharp
Nigger was changed to tiger in a more sensitive age, despite the fact that if you grabbed a tiger's toe, it would probably cut your finger off with its claw.
approved Oct 17 2003, submitted Sep 25 2003 by Name Withheld
Eenie meenie at our school was always a bit of a lost cause. I imagine an adult at some point tried to offer a reasonable-sounding substitution to the word 'nigger' but failed to come up with anything. This resulted in some confusion.
On the plus side, none of us used the word 'nigger'; on the minus side, no-one as far as I can remember could ever really complete the rhyme. Attempts were made to guess what the missing words might be, and this was the best we could come up with:
Eenie Meenie Miney Mo,
Catch a fish and let it go,
Eenie Meenie Miney Mo,
Eenie Meenie Miney Mo.
A good example, I think, of an oral tradition utterly failing to evolve. Or, more accurately, evolving into a form that has spazflippers instead of arms and legs. I think we'd have been glad for the suggestion of 'Tiger'.
approved Oct 4 2004, submitted Feb 19 2004 by Erin Miller
I just found out what it's all about. "Catch a nigger by the toe" was a way of finding out whether the nigger you were confronted with was - in fact - not a nigger at all, but the devil.
The devil's cloven hooves, you see, would feel no pain at the squeezing of a toe. However, your nigger would squeal, and say "ooh, me toe!", whilst hopping on one foot.
So it's not racist at all, you see - because if the nigger isn't the devil, you let him go, with a cheery "sorry about the toe, old bean, but you can't be too careful with you niggers".
approved Oct 4 2004, submitted Feb 29 2004 by Jon Blyth
As I recall we said the naughty version but knowing it was naughty, shiftily flubbed the ‘nigger’ bit, thus:
Eenie Meenie Minee Moe,
Catch a nngh-nngh by his toe.

The odd thing was, we (or perhaps it was just me) never actually knew what the original offending word that had to be flubbed was. This led to additional cover-ups just in case other words in the rhyme were naughty also, hence:
If he hoo-hars, let him go.
By the time we'd finished self-editing, we sounded like a bunch of West Country Joeys.
approved Oct 19 2004, submitted Oct 18 2004 by F F
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