Potato Patoto Potota Pootat

Who doesn`t love potato? Not the vegetable (although I am a fan) but the word. Turns out, my anxious mind has found three benefits to the simple word.

Growing up, music played a huge role in my life. We always had the radio blasting in the house, the garage, our rooms and the car. It was this comforting white noise that became the soundtrack of my life.

In college, one of my roommates was a cello player. While classical music can be heard playing at all hours in our apartment, she also had a love for funky folk music. One particularly CD my roommate had, there was a song that would cement itself in my head.


An ode to the tuber set to the Mexican Hat Dance song. For the chorus, she repeated the word Potato over and over with different stresses on three syllable word.

Now, I have forgotten the words to the actual song — but not the playful mash up of the word “potato.” I can be found working down the street singing my own version of the chorus; one where I mashup the word potato to suit my mood.

“Potato, patoto, potota, pootat.”

This chorus has had three benefits for me since I first heard “Potatoes” twenty years ago:

Feed My Mental Hamster
We’ve all experienced the obsessive thoughts of our internal hamster. The one that likes to overthink, over analyze and over criticize every little thing we’ve done in the past. When it has nothing to rehash from recent events, it pulls one of its favourites from it’s magical little hat and it is off on a tangent.

When that happens to me, when my mind starts obsessing over what I could have done better, differently or how I am not measuring up to me, I feed my hamster mind “Potato.”

“Potato, patoto, potota, pootat.” Nothing puts the brakes on ruminating like focusing on the different ways you can reorder the word “potato.”

Entice My Creative Muse
I find that my muse and I are on opposite sites of the work habit. When I am ready for bed or sleeping, that is when she is ready to get to work. Most ideas vanish into thin air by the time I rise in the morning. When I am ready to compose, she wants to watch episodes of true crime on Investigative Discovery. I often have to go and drag her, kicking and screaming, to the laptop — which only confirms that I am out to get her due to her viewing habits.

But a bit of mashed potato and she walks willingly over. The playful reworking of the word entices my muse and she forgets about Forensic Files and is ready to get to work.

Add a Bit of Mash to My Life
Bills. Painting decks. Planning vegan meals. Cleaning bathrooms. Life can be dull sometimes. Almost routine. Some people call it adulting. Some call it busyness. My creative side has a hard time with the seriousness of life sometimes. I want to paint with abandon, wear 1920s flapper dresses to the grocery store or . . . sing “Potato” while scrubbing the guest suite bathroom. It makes me smile and it makes the chores and have-tos a bit more interesting.

For me, a “potato” a day keeps my anxious mind happy, my muse engaged and entices my inner toddler to participate in the day to day.

“Potato, patoto, potota, pootat.”


Hat tips to:

Kelly G., my college roomie, for sharing her love for funky folky music. And putting up with my bad singing and horrible memory for lyrics.

Cheryl Wheeler and her “Potato” song for inspiring my own obsession with the word. I managed to find a YouTube video of the song.¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i69Rz4yb3cA

Apparently she also did one about Pop-Tarts and Spam on a cruise ship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WYkt4tlrGk