John Ostrander: Get Out of My Head (Over You)!
“Earworm – A catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person’s mind.” – Oxford Dictionaries
I am a child of pop culture. Phrases, jingles, songs, names and much much more pass through my brain and, on occasion, get stuck there. Sometimes it’s only for a few moments and sometimes it is for hours. I don’t mind it so much when it’s a song I like but often it’s one of which I’m not fond or actively hate. It’s like on vinyl LPs when the needle would get stuck on a record and you have to jar the needle to get it to move on (young’uns, have the oldsters explain that reference for you). Unfortunately, slapping myself upside the head doesn’t help with earworms. They’re there until they’re not.
Warning: I’m going to be listing some of these and they could get caught inside your skull. You may want to bail out now.
Sometimes it’s not musical. Sometimes it’s a phrase that catches my attention and settles in such as:
Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh Ndamukong Suh
Atorvastatin Atorvastatin Atorvastatin
The first is a football player; the latter is a medication.
Sometimes it only repeats a few times and sometimes it repeats in an endless loop. Such as:
Come Saturday morning,
I’m going away with my friends.
We’ll Saturday spend
‘til the end
of the daaaaay.
I hate that song to begin with, and repeating it doesn’t make it better.
The theme to The Avengers movie. Or maybe The Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I get the two confused. Or one morphs into the other in a sort of mash up.
Speaking of mash-ups, this here is a recent one: “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” but with the start of Blue Swedes “”Hooked on a Feeling.” So I get
I’m Looking Over
A Four Leaf Clover
That I Overlooked Before!
(On a loop)
Hey kids, I just have them; I can’t explain them. Sometimes I think my brain has a mind of its own.
Some songs aren’t always the best known version. For example, I’ve had it “I Did It My Way” (one the most overblown songs I’ve ever heard) but not in the best known Frank Sinatra version. Oh no. My mind uses the John Cleese version from the end of the movie George of the Jungle which actually is more amusing and I don’t mind it as much.
Or how about Madeline Kahn singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” from Young Frankenstein? That one was also on an endless loop. Amusing the first three or four times it ran through my head. Less so the fiftieth or so repetition. The more you hear something, the less funny it gets. Much like my jokes, I’ve been told.
I also was treated to an endless looped version “Going Out of My Head (Over You)” (hence the title of this column). That one runs from the Little Anthony and the Imperials version (which is great) to The Lettermen version (the sonic equivalent of Velveeta) that also includes “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” which morphs into the Frankie Valli version of the latter, with and without the Four Seasons.
And, yes, my brain does hurt sometimes.
I was told at one point that doing games or puzzles somehow stops earworms and usually writing does that for me as well. However, they always come back or a new one takes up residence.
Note that none of these earworms includes classical music even for a few bars or Shakespeare or anything like that. Nope. Pop culture all the way. You are what you consume.
That thumping sound you may be hearing is probably me banging my head on the desk trying to escape the earworms. Of course, another good way of losing them, or so I’m told, is to pass them on to someone else.
This has been a (mis)guided tour of my mind. Thank you and good afternoon.