Earworms

 

“Irish and proud baby, naturally/ But you’ve got the luck of a Kennedy…”

Over and over and over.

And over.

So now I know which song is my first earworm of the day. It’ll probably be accompanied by another one at some point, only to be replaced by a third. Because my mind is just that perverse, even when I don’t want it to be.

Most of the time earworms are a bit annoying but benign, like when the cat is being extra-adorable in a bid for attention. Occasionally, though, I almost wish they were a bit more like those Ceti Eels from The Wrath of Khan. At least then they’d have physical bodies that I could yoink out of my head and crush with extreme prejudice.

Ever wonder why it’s always bits of songs, and not anything actually useful? Most of the time I can’t remember names to save my life; I wish those would lodge in my pointy head so readily. Some people use music-based mnemonics to help them remember names, like “Chelsea Chelsea Bo-Belsea…”

…kill me now. Seriously.

Also, as time goes on, I’ve started brain-farting words that used to flow effortlessly into whatever I’m writing or saying—not just odd or esoteric things, but mundane stuff like “water.” (Tremble in fear, author types—this is your future!) It really throws you off when you can’t half-consciously pull out a word like you used to.

But repetitive or weird bits of music—nooo problem! You don’t even have to know the actual lyrics to your earworm, amirite? Its inchoate essence just churns around happily in your brain, that wondrous organ that also houses dreams and PTSD flashbacks.

A great way to torture your loved ones is to share your earworms. Mr. Treme and I will be going about our day, when one of us will abruptly say “I’ve got this tune stuck in my head…”

“No! Don’t tell me! Do not want!”

Evil grin: “You know, that one song that’s like ‘Da-da-da-daaa-dum’—“

“Great, thanks a lot. God, I hate you.”

When one of us has an earworm, the other may try to “help” by canceling it out with another one. It’s a lot like “helping” someone cure their hiccups—part genuine wanting to alleviate a minor inconvenience, but mostly sadistic schadenfreude. With hiccups it’s pretty much a one-way street, but messing about with earworms runs the risk of catching them yourself. About the only positive takeaway at that point is now both people have a mental loop mix of “Flight of the Valkyries” and the Fruity Oaty Bar jingle from “Serenity.” Misery loving company and all that.

According to the Internet (that great font of all wisdom), there are supposedly strategies for making an earworm go away. They mostly revolve around distracting yourself, although some recommend finding and listening to the song in its entirety. Aside from being a great way to pick up brand-new earworms—many of these articles just happen to provide video links to hooky songs—they’re not all that useful. But that’s okay; in the grand scheme of things, earworms are pretty weak tea. Contagious as hell, but harmless.

So… what’s stuck in your head now?

Mona Treme sees a lot of evidence that [insert deity’s name here] has a sense of humor, and not just in the mirror.