The pesky earworm


Over the past five days, I’ve been getting hammered by two songs…

Sylvester – “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”

KC and the Sunshine Band – “Keep It Comin’ Love”

(I’m going to do you a favor and not link to the songs in any way. You’re welcome.)

Both songs have a lot in common. Disco… about forty years old… hits. And… more to my current pain and suffering…

They’ve been on television recently. Commercials. And, the results are overwhelming.

The problem is that they only play for a few seconds thanks to these commercials, which for me is usually the way to trigger the wonderful phenomenon of the earworm.

I’ve been lucky. Haven’t been infected by earworms for many years. And, I think I know why.

As I mentioned, I can trace most of my earworm suffering back to a fairly specific cause… not hearing the complete song. It’s not a result of some overwhelming difficulty with closure for me. Instead, it’s that at the right moment, with the right song, hearing just a little bit allows it to sink its hooks in.

More often than not, suffering over the years came about because I’d be driving along, hear the first thirty or so seconds of a tune on the radio, find myself having arrived at my destination and shutting the car off. In essence… a catchy tune as the last song on the radio before I got out.

I don’t listen to the radio as much anymore. A mix of sports radio and compact discs were tilting the balance for a bit, and ultimately changed things for good some twenty years ago. Now, unless Terry and I are off on a long road trip, or the holiday season is in full swing, I actually think the radio is off far more than it’s ever on.

Still… the earworms have opportunity…

I remember “Rubberband Man” nailing me thanks to the OfficeMax commercials years ago… of course, this is a tremendous song, so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining considering the run of music rattling around unstoppably in my head at times. Instead…

Mind chatter.

The songs keep flaring up again in the middle of the night. As I’m first trying to get to sleep. If I wake up. And when it comes to Sylvester and KC… both fascinating performers with interesting careers… that means the songs aren’t letting me peacefully drift off to dreamland.

Which brings us to that closure part.

See… I’m not obsessive about things when it comes to beginning and ending. It happens at times, where I feel the need to finish something I’ve started. But not often. With an earworm though, the answer for me is usually a simple one. Just to hear the entire song. Start to finish. And then *poof* earworm gone. Vanishes.

I don’t listen to Sylvester or KC and the Sunshine Band all that often. I don’t have any music by either. Which means lately, I’ll just be sitting there… not thinking about the songs… and then one of the commercials comes on. Or… I’ll be settled in for the night… and in some way that defy description, I realize I’m not thinking about the songs which of course results in my mind wondering what songs I could possibly not be thinking about and… yeah, there they are.

So today I pulled up YouTube, listened to both songs, and it seems to be going better. I think we’ve moved beyond the worst of it, and tonight should be a good night for sleep.

(Except – “…Hand me down my walkin’ cane, hand me down my hat…” – (Dammit!))


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