Some little bug is gonna find you …

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Bacteria are everywhere.

I’m reminded of this fact as I enter my last class-based unit of medical school, infectious disease. With this in mind, I’m also reminded of a song that my family listened to during my childhood. This was back in the day when people made “mixed tapes” with cassettes, not with an iTunes playlist. A friend of my dad’s made us this particular tape in the mid-1980s. It was a favorite on cross-country road trips to visit my grandparents in Colorado and Kansas. The tape was full of folksy songs about trains, whales, Star Trek, and … gut bugs.

“Some Little Bug” apparently dates back to the early 1900s. This particular version, which I’ve uploaded to YouTube and shared here, was digitized from that old cassette tape. You’ll find the lyrics below the YouTube link.

Enjoy. But not while eating.

“Some Little Bug”

In these days of indigestion it is oftentimes a question
As to what to eat and what to leave alone.
Every microbe and bacillus has a different way to kill us
And in time they all will claim us for their own.
There are germs of every kind in every food that you can find
In the market or upon the bill of fare.
Drinking water’s just as risky as the so-called “deadly” whiskey
And it’s often a mistake to breathe the air.

Some little bug is gonna to find you someday.
Some little bug will creep behind you someday.
Then he’ll send for his bug friends
And all your troubles they will end,
For some little bug is gonna find you someday.

The luscious green cucumber, it’s most everybody’s number
While sweetcorn has a system of its own.
And, that radish seems nutritious, but its behavior is quite vicious
And a doctor will be coming to your home.
Eating lobster, cooked or plain, is only flirting with ptomaine,
While an oyster often has a lot to say.
And those clams we eat in chowder make the angels sing the louder
For they know that they’ll be with us right away.

Some little bug is gonna to find you someday.
Some little bug will creep behind you someday.
Eat that juicy sliced pineapple,
And the sexton dusts the chapel
Oh, yes, some little bug is gonna find you someday.

When cold storage vaults I visit, I can only say, “What is it
Makes poor mortals fill their systems with such stuff?”
Now, at breakfast prunes are dandy if a stomach pump is handy
And a doctor can be called quite soon enough.
Eat a plate of fine pig’s knuckles and the headstone cutter chuckles
While the gravedigger makes a mark upon his cuff.
And eat that lovely red bologna and you’ll wear a wood kimona
As your relatives start packing up your stuff.

Those crazy foods they fix, they’ll float us ‘cross the River Styx
Or start us climbing up the Milky Way.
And those meals they serve in courses mean a hearse and two black horses
So before meals, some people always pray.
Luscious grapes breed appendicitis, while their juice leads to gastritis
So there’s only death to greet us either way.
Fried liver’s nice, but mind you, friends will follow close behind you
And the papers, they will have nice things to say.

Some little bug is gonna to find you someday.
Some little bug will creep behind you someday.
Eat that spicy bowl of chili and on your breast we’ll plant a lily
Oh yes some little bug is gonna find you someday.