Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stuck Inside My Head...

It’s happened to all of us. There’s no escaping it…no one is immune.

You hear the first bar. Sometimes just the first two–or three–or four notes…and you’re stuck. Like a record that’s skipping, you have the same stanza of a song stuck in your head. It repeats itself over and over and over (and over and over and over) again. And again.

It’s enough to drive you crazy.

Before I continue with that line of thought, however, let me explain the previous paragraph for the benefit of the younger generation of readers. A “record” was a slender, circular disk of grooved vinyl which, when made to spin with a needle set into the grooves, produced sound. Often, that sound was music, but sometimes it was voice, or some resonance from nature or industry. Records were a technology that I (almost) understood and I hope youngsters will take the time to research this important invention from our past. For it is a fact: my generation grew up listening to music which emanated from a spinning vinyl disk when a needle was placed within its grooves.

Amazing, huh?

We used to have to lick postage stamps to affix them to letters, too. That’s how bad things used to be...

But back to my original topic; this “getting a song stuck in my head” business.

If you’re lucky, the song that gets stuck in your head is one that you like… although the down-side is that you’ll never like it again after the next three days’ worth of hearing it repeated internally inside your brain. The funny thing is—it doesn’t STAY in your brain! You find yourself breaking out in song in the most unlikely of places—and completely against your will! You whistle the song without thinking. You hum it when you’re supposed to be quiet. You even find yourself BREATHING in sync with the tempo of the song. How strange is that?

Yep. A few days with your brain stuck in a loop repeating “I’m too sexy” is enough to sour even the biggest fan of that amazing pop hit.

But what happens when the song that burrows into your psyche is a melody you despise? With words that irritate you beyond measure?

What if it is…the theme song of “Barney”?

If it’s not too late, close your eyes! Stop reading! Immediately! The purple dinosaur and his song are an insidious virus! Once you’ve been infected, you can be laid low for a week. A whole week! One whole week of singing, whistling, humming, breathing and thinking…

“I love you. You love me. We’re a hap-py fam-i-ly. With a great big hug…”

Oh, man!!! You didn’t close your eyes, did you? When—oh, when—will you learn to listen to me?

Yes, there was a time when I thought that the absolute worst song to get stuck in my head was the “Barney” theme song. Josie and Eli would torture me with it. Intentionally and with malice-aforethought! Their goal was to mess with my equilibrium. These seemingly innocent children would wait until I walked through the living room with a basket full of laundry in my arms, completely defenseless and unable to cover my ears, before piping up with the dreaded words. The despised tune.

Without a doubt--they can be evil little munchkins.

And yes, I felt guilty for hating Barney and his feel-good song and all things purple and saccharine-sweet. But I couldn’t help it. I did.

Hated. With a T-Rex-sized ‘H’.

As contagious as the Barney theme song was, though… there is a tune that has settled into the Pease Family Subconscious which is far more irritating. Maybe it’s because we don’t know the words? Maybe it’s because it is a song which is (we think) 200 years old? Maybe it is because—no matter how many times Steven, Eli and I forget the song and start to heal from the trauma induced by days and days of repetitive whistling, humming and breathing it…we still don’t know what it is!

It’s all Josie-Earl’s fault. She started it. She whistled it one afternoon two months ago while sprawled on the sofa reading “Clan of the Cave Bear”. I immediately picked up the tune (which seemed benign at the time) and whistled it back. I asked her what it was.

“I don’t know. Some Beethoven thing.”

Well, my “Beethoven” education was all about St. Bernards and drool. That’s it. No humming, no singing, no whistling, no breathing in tempo with a song. But now…that’s all I do.

Da-da, da-da, da-da, dee-dee-DUM. Da da dee DUM… da da dee DUM!

And over and over and over again. If you were unlucky enough to pick up the tune from my simple ‘das’ and ‘DUMs’…I sincerely apologize. I may have single-handedly killed your love of classical music. There’s only one way to escape having that song stuck inside your head.

“I love you. You love me. We’re a hap-py fam-i-ly…”


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