Alligator Song

Everybody’s getting cancer
At a geometrical rate
Maybe it’s something you drank or breathed
Maybe it’s something you ate
Perhaps this doesn’t concern you
Hey, we’ve all gotta go sometime
But maybe I can tell you something
To make you change your mind

The alligator dicks are shriveling up
Soon they’ll all be through
Yeah, the alligator dicks are shrinking fast
And it will happen to you
It will happen to you, boys
It will happen to you
the alligator dicks are shriveling up
And it will happen to you

They’re an indicator species
Like canaries in the mine
They’re the first to kick the bucket
When things might otherwise seem fine
So let’s be frank and honest
As the situation begs
Boys, what are you gonna do
About that thing between your legs


I’m not beating around the bush
I’m making you a promise
Say goodbye to Long Dong Silver
Hello to Tiny Thomas
You can forget about Viagra
Boys, what I mean is
It’s all a matter of minutiae
When you’ve got a half-inch penis


PCBs in the water
Pesticides in the ground
Radiation in the wind
There’s poison all around
So if you care about your love life
And that good old whoop-dee-doo
We’ve got to stop pollution, boys
That’s what i’m telling you


“The Alligator Song” originally appeared on the 2000 CD, Live at Club Passim. I heard from the biologist who did the research that led to the article in the New York Times that led to me writing this song, and he said my interpretation of it represented in the song was sound. Which is good, because it represents the very limits of my understanding of biology. Basically, because of dioxin and other chemicals in the water that come from industry, cars, etc., there are changes happening in animals across the spectrum, including both alligators as well as humans. Dioxin mimics estrogen, the female hormone, so it tends to cause penises to shrink, and breasts to grow. It also means more and more babies born intersex. I think with alligators and other amphibians, who are more vulnerable to this than other animals, the rate of intersex baby alligators is something like 1 in 100, but don’t quote me. Just to clarify one point that people sometimes aren’t clear on, this is something that happens over the generations. It’s not that one’s individual penis actually shrinks.