Friday, 19 April 2013

I've got an earworm

I've got an earworm
19 April 2013

I’ve got an earworm.  And it is a terrible predicament to be in.  Sort of similar to suffering from an affliction.  A most dreadful one at that.

Don’t yet know what an earworm is?  Well then, please do let me explain. 

An earworm is not to be mistaken with an earthworm.  That is an entirely different creature.  A whole different species in fact.  Unlike an earthworm that is an invertebrate and indeed a hermaphrodite, an earworm is not.  It has no spine, or predisposition to just one specific sex, or both for that matter.  An earworm, refers to the most awful habit of certain songs to simply get stuck in your head.  Like the song has been put on repeat and it continues to play over and over and over again, in your head.  Full volume normally.  On a seeming continuous and never ending loop.  And usually, despite giving your ear, additional stimuli in the form of a new awesome song to listen to, somehow the earworm one, just won’t leave.  Like a horrible gift that just keeps on giving.

Right, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Cause chances are, it’s happened to you too.

And for some or odd reason, my earworms are usually the most dreadful of songs.  Almost too embarrassing to mention.  At times it feels as if I’m channelling Afrikaans music only.  Of the Sonja Heroldt and Randall Wicomb variety.  I know – it’s mortifying.  I would also like to take this opportunity to categorically state that I DON’T LISTEN TO THIS MUSIC.  I don’t even own it.  Just so we’re clear.  I blame these moments of relapse on the parts of my youth where I grew up in the Platteland.  Whether you wanted to listen to this type of music or not, you ended up doing just that.  Courtesy of your friendly neighbours, who played their records loudly.  Have I mentioned yet that they also had a penchant for Boney M?  I thought my ears would voluntarily start bleeding.

I have a few fall back songs, that I revert to in an earworm crises.  And occasionally they work.  The trick is to make the replacement song, a very catchy one too.  If it is even slightly annoying, more’s the better.  An absolute winner is “Her name was Lola!  She was a showgirl”.  Aaargghhh!  Shoot me now!  Though a truly dreadful song too, it can be used as a sort of springboard or platform to the next song.  The one you really want to be stuck with.  And thus you can ease your way once more, to a place of peaceful harmony.  Of blessed quiet even.  Another song, that I actually happen to like, that works quite well, is “I love you baby, and if it’s quite all right, I need you baby.  To warm my lonely nights.  Oh let me love you baby, let me love you!”.  My favourite is when you get to the “ta-ra-ta-ra-ta-ra-ra-ta-ta” – bit.  This refrain you can sing over and over again.  And to aid the stickiness of this song in your head, I seriously advise that you kick your leg up in true showgirl fashion.  So much fun.  Sadly this can backfire at times, as the showgirl reference can trigger a “Lola” relapse.  And then you’re back to square one again.  Do you feel my pain?

Currently I’ve been stuck with “Daar’s ‘n trein – toot-toot-toot-toot-toot-toot.  ‘n Trein na Matjiesfontein.”  I throw up in my mouth just a little bit, every time the chorus comes up.  Another, firm un-favourite earworm, is “Kaptein van die seile”.  Why don’t I ever have U2 earworms?  Or Red Hot Chili Pepper ones?

Furthermore, it doesn’t take a lot to trigger a potentially fatal earworm infestation.  A brief shopping excursion to Checkers or Pep Stores is quite sufficient.  Because before long, you find yourself stuck with “Ahadi Hooi Skarumba”, “Baby Chocklits” or “By the rivers of Babylon”.  Watching a rugby game on TV, can trigger a Steve Hofmeyer epidemic.  And then there’s pandemics of the Michael Bolton type as well as the Billy Ray Cyrus “Achy Breaky Heart” type.  And let’s not forget the bloody “Macarena”.  And that stupid chicken song they simply always seem to play at weddings.  That one is a KILLER!

Why just today, a very brief stop at Checkers, triggered a bout of “The Final Countdown”.  Eeeuwww!  It actually gave me the heebie-jeebies.  Even worse, when I found myself humming it later in the car.

And just therein lies the problem with most earworm songs.  The fact that many of them were very, very popular once upon a time.  Possibly you even fancied them a long, long time ago as an awesome good tune.  Furthermore, an inevitable by-product of their former popularity, is the amount of radio time they got.  Garnering these songs listeners and an audience everywhere.  Increasing their popularity, enforcing their demand, ensuring even more radio play.  Aaarghhh!  And so the cycle perpetuates itself.

So don’t say you haven’t been warned.  The number one hit of today, could be the earworm of tomorrow.  Gangnam Style is going to come back and bite us all in the bum.

So, here’s my advice, stock up on a good few fall back songs.  You never know when you might need them.  Write them down somewhere, and keep them in your wallet, so that you can dip into your supply at any given time.  Alternatively make a note on your cell phone and save it under a file called “Code Red”.

Be prepared.  Don’t be caught unaware by complacency.  You are never safe!

Don't I just know this feeling!

That pesky earworm - if I had my way, it would be an endangered species

Make it stop!!!

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