Ever hear of an earworm? Even if you haven’t heard the term, I’m sure you’ve experienced the phenomenon.
An earworm is a tune that pops into your head, seemingly from nowhere, and you can’t get rid of for hours, sometimes even days. It’s a melody that slowly clings to your brain and quickly gets on your nerves.
At first you may find it amusing, as in how weird, where did you come from? But after its 90th rerun, you just want to strangle it.
It’s estimated by the strange scientists who study these things that over 90% of us humans experience earworms at one time or another. The melodies in question might be songs you like or even songs you don’t! You have no control. Like a reflex, it’s involuntary.
I would guess that I am overtaken by an earworm at least once a month, and if I’m really off my game, could be as often as every other week. It’s a sneaky little parasite, as unpredictable as my husband’s golf game. Sometimes it’s there, first thing in the morning. It’s as if it’s been crouching in my auditory cortex all night, just waiting for me to open my eyes. Other times, it pops up in the middle of the day when I’m doing something quite mundane, like picking up dog poop from the sidewalk.
There are occasions when I don’t mind it. Like when we heard of the recent death of a music icon and my pet earworm, let’s call him Phil, began playing the best of Tony Bennett. It was soothing and nostalgic, but I admit after a while I eliminated San Francisco as a place I like to visit.
I also don’t mind if Phil serenades me with Stephen Sondheim show tunes, Billy Joel, or Bruce Springstein. Or clever rap music. But I draw the line at a medley of The Village People! And I don’t give a f*&k Who Let the Dogs Out!
But the worst – the very worst – is when Phil decides to fill my head with commercials. That’s when I’m ready to skewer Phil at the end of a fishing line.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to experience 1-877-Kars for Kids on a continuous loop? Did you ever entertain murderous thoughts about doing away with little kids dressed in pink? Or, at the very least locking them in an attic until their voices changed and their instruments rusted? Well, I have. And I don’t feel good about it.
But the latest, and possibly worst torture inflicted by Phil is a very uplifting, jubilant, and joyous jingle for a drug! And yes, I’ll name it. It’s Jardiance. It’s a medication that lowers blood sugar and is also good for your heart. But read the fine print. The catchy tune can create havoc in your brain!
Have you seen the commercial? If you watch any TV at all, it’s really hard to miss. It’s like a Hollywood epic. An incredibly affable woman pops out of her house and begins rapturously singing the praises of a little pill that she apparently has just ingested. She is surrounded by a cast of thousands, with all eyes on her. She finishes singing, and she and the entire community break into a lively disco-type dance to the sounds of the catchy, uplifting, jubilant, and joyous jingle. And although Miss Conviviality stopped singing for a few seconds, Phil had plenty of time to make sure that I remembered every word!
And what really makes me angry is that Jardiance doesn’t work. My husband takes it, and his dancing hasn’t improved, not one little bit!
So, when you’re ready for the Sounds of Silence, how does one exorcise an earworm? Have those clever scientists come up with a remedy? They have, and it might just surprise you.
The antidote to your own personal Phil is gum. Yes, that’s gum. As in chewing gum. And here is what I learned: “Chewing gum is an easy method known to help get rid of earworms. This is tied to the theory that jaw movement affects, or reduces, musical cognition.” It’s as simple as that.
The problem is the article doesn’t suggest what type of gum is best to chew. Perhaps different flavors work best for different musical genres. For example, to rid my consciousness of Kars for Kids, would pink sugar-laden bubble gum work best? I’ll give it a try. If it works, I promise I’ll let those brats out of the attic!
Note: Unfiltered Wit is taking summer break. August posts will be reruns but stay tuned for fresh nonsense after Labor Day! Stay cool!
In the interest of full transparency I am stating at the outset that the idea for this essay did not originate with me. So, New Yorker Magazine, if you’re listening, I give you full credit.
In a recent on-line “Daily Shouts” column, the author, Jenny Arimoto, wrote a spoof on celebrity beauty brands. Naming recent celebs who have gotten into the beauty business, such as Selena Gomez with her makeup line, the author invented other possibilities, like Second Chances by Felicity Huffman. Created while she spent ten days in jail, Second Chances serum consists of only three ingredients and can be easily concocted in a toilet.
The column was definitely a giggle, and also a stimulant. Why limit the product lines to beauty? The marketplace is vast, and with a famous name attached to something you didn’t know you couldn’t live without, the possibilities are limitless. So, below I offer some creative ideas to which the named celebrities should give serious consideration.
Trumpe l’oeil by Ivanka Trump
The first daughter and Presidential advisor, Ivanka Kushner (nee Trump) has applied her vast knowledge of the fashion industry to creating a stunning new line of wallpaper specifically designed to deceive the eye. Taking poetic license from the original spelling, Trompe l’oeil, Ivanka artistically applies the art of fakery, making two-dimensional representations appear real. The buyer can select from a wide range of murals, including, but not limited to, the bathroom at Mar-a-Lago, with or without storage boxes, Donald and Melania descending the now-famous escalator, or any one of Trump’s golf courses. If your decorator selects the latter, we recommend Bedminster because one can choose to include several options, such as the ninth hole with a portrait of Donald in golf shorts, or a solemn view of his first wife’s grave.
Hotter Wheels by Pat Sajak
After forty-two years of hosting one of America’s favorite game shows, if there’s one thing Pat Sajak knows, it’s wheels! Although he is finally retiring after this season, we won’t catch Mr. Sajak lounging by the pool. Rumor has it that he has turned (pun intended) to entrepreneurship and will soon be releasing a line of designer tires for all your moving vehicles. Mr. Sajak was overheard at a party telling a friend that he is just so tired (pun intended) of looking at nothing but black where the rubber meets the road. His tire line will offer the proud vehicle owner a wide choice of colors, including neon and psychedelic stoner designs. The first wheels off the assembly line will be manufactured to fit your average sedan and SUV. If successful, Mr. Sajak plans to expand the line to accommodate multi-wheel semis, mobile homes, wheel chairs, and shopping carts. Stay tuned!
Ballistic Blinis by Vladimir Putin
This is truly breaking news! It’s been confirmed by reliable sources that given the recent attempt at a coup, and uncertainty about the outcome of the next U.S. presidential election, Russian President Vladimir Putin has fast-forwarded his retirement plans. Mr. Putin, who will be seventy-one years old this October, had planned to rig elections in his favor for another five years. However, behind the scenes in his current residence, Putin’s Palace, Putin has been observed sneaking into the kitchen at 2:00 am, bare-chested, with bags of flour. Apparently, he has been trying to replicate an old family recipe from Grandma Shelomova, whose blinis were famous all over Russia in the last century, particularly in her home town of Tver (pronounced Tver). Not wanting to face retirement with nothing to do, it seems Putin is preparing to launch his own food brand, featuring a line of gourmet blinis just like grandma used to make. Sour cream and caviar are optional.
Wunder Wear by Gal Gadot
Disappointed by the less than satisfactory reviews of her second feature film, Israeli actress Gal Gadot has decided not to appear in the next sequel of a sequel of the Wonder Woman franchise. Instead, she is applying her superpowers to the lingerie industry. Victoria’s Secret step aside! To be introduced during fashion week is Ms. Gadot’s daring line of Wunder Bras and bustiers guaranteed to turn every woman into an alluring Greek goddess with extraordinary strength, speed, courage, intelligence, and an ability to change outfits in milliseconds. An exclusive feature of her line of Wunder Panties is a G-string with lie detection capabilities to discover if your significant other is cheating. And for the more conservative gal, look for the Diana Prince line of wasit-high briefs and traditional underwires. Orders of $200 or more come with a free pair of silver bracelets to ward off unwanted advances. If this endeavor is successful Ms. Gadot will launch the Steve Trevor line for men, featuring briefs, boxer shorts, and “Wunder Bros” for guys with that extra jiggle.
So, I think there’s real potential here, and this is just the beginning. I’d be pleased to hear from any of you with additional ideas for celebrity products. Write to me and I’d be happy to spread the word in my next essay.
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.