Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WARNING: Reading this Article Could Cause a Song to Get Stuck in Your Head!

I had never heard the term earworm until just recently. It’s the term used to describe those pesky songs that get stuck in our heads and play over and over. While listening to the radio recently I got an earworm stuck in my head all day and into the night. I woke up singing it the next morning and knew I was going to go crazy if it didn’t stop soon. I decided to educate myself on why this phenomenon happens, hoping to perhaps find a way to stop this particular song from driving me up the wall. This is what I learned.

- The earworm phenomenon is more likely to happen to women than men.
- It is more likely to happen to people who work with music as part of their career. (Those poor, poor music store people.)
- It is more likely to happen when you are stressed. (Oh GREAT!)
- You don’t have to necessarily like the song to get it stuck in your head.
- It usually happens because the song is catchy and repetitive. Your brain naturally wants to finish the song, but the repetitive tune just starts over again causing it to be the song that never ends or ends or ends or . . .
- The longer the song is stuck in your head the harder it will be to get it out.
- Some earworms can become so ingrained they will continue to repeat even while you are asleep or dreaming and still be there in the morning.
- Sometimes you can get rid of an earworm by listening to the offending song all the way through in its entirety before it becomes ingrained.
- Another cure is to think of song more addictive than the one you currently have stuck. This comes with the risk of getting the new song stuck in your head so choose your replacement song wisely.

Earworm Songs that No One Can Resist:
Video Killed the Radio Star
Dancing Queen (Abba)
Gimmie a Break (Kit Kat Jingle)
Who Let the Dogs Out
YMCA
Whoop, There It Is
We Will Rock You
Lion Sleeps Tonight
It’s a Small World After All
Mission Impossible Theme
Pop Pop Fizz Fizz (Alka-seltzer Jingle)
My Mamma Loves Me (Jiffy Song)
I Wish I Were an Oscar Myer Wiener
Chili's "Baby Back Ribs" jingle (Never heard it, thank goodness)
Macarena (Voted one of the catchiest songs of all time.)
Holiday (Madonna)
La Bamba
Bunny Hop Song
Chicken Dance Song (I HATE this song)
I Dream of Jeannie Theme Song

Have you got a song stuck in your head yet? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you have an especially bad earworm song, add the title to my list in the comments.

FIGHT THE EARWORM!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Acursed Ones (That Means You!)

“I swear I’m cursed,” a friend said to me not long ago.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself uttering those exact words over the years. You know what I’m talking about, those strange but regularly reoccurring incidents of bad luck that happen to all of us at the worst moments. Things that happen so frequently and with such perfect regularity that you find yourself looking over your shoulder to see which disgruntled imp has cast a curse on you when you weren’t looking.

Here are some examples of curses that have been laid on me and my friends without our knowledge. (If it was YOU please remove your curse as soon as possible):

The Many Mishaps while Traveling Curse: I recently went on a business trip with several of my coworkers. The woman I was assigned to share a hotel room with explained to me that she is cursed when it comes to traveling. Before the trip was through, I believed her. Her airplane ticket was filed under the wrong name (which made things ticklish because they have to have an ID with the name listed) and our room reservation was lost so we ended up with this awful room we were sure was the maid’s room. She ended up sleeping (if you could call it that) on a hideaway fold out couch the whole week. She says stuff like this happens to her all the time when she travels, poor thing.

The Disappearing Pen in the Purse Curse: I don’t know who I ticked off to get this curse put on me, but no matter how many pens I put in my purse they will be gone by the end of the week. Because I know this is a problem I’m very careful to always put my pens back after each use double checking myself several times just to be sure. They still disappear with alarming regularity. I never have any memory of when the disappearance might have occurred either. Is this a case of a time distortion phenomenon? Has the Bermuda Triangle inexplicably expanded its borders to include my purse? Maybe I’m just cursed.

The Next Person You Date Curse: Lots of people I know have claimed to be under this curse. I am one of them. If I meet or go out with a guy I really and truly like, he will meet the girl of his dreams before he’s had enough time to get to know me well enough for any sort of relationship to blossom between us. It has happened so often I now just expect it. It never works on guys I don’t like. But that’s an entirely different kind of curse altogether.

Not long ago my mother and a friend wanted to set me up with a guy. Usually I dread blind dates, but after listening to them talk about this guy I was actually kind of excited about meeting him. But when my mother’s friend went to set up the date she discovered that he had—you guessed it—met the perfect girl and they were now dating. They’ll be happily married within a year’s time guaranteed. The “cursed one” has so spoken. I try to use my power only for good—but it can be a little disheartening at times.

The I Just had the Blasted Thing in my Hand Twenty Seconds Ago Curse: Do I even need to explain this one to anyone out there. This must be the most commonly laid curse on the face of the planet. Some important object is in your hand one minute, the next it has disappeared into thin air. Glasses, a pair of shoes, your purse, it can be anything at all. The vanished item will usually reappear in some strange place you would never think to look—like in the refrigerator.

The All My Library Holds Come in the Same Week Curse: When I see a book that looks interesting, I immediately put it on hold at the library. This is usually done slowly over months of time, one or two titles at a time. When books have lots of holds ahead of mine, it can take a long time before they become available. My hold list can become quite sizable in that period of time. So why is it that every book on my list has to come in the same week? Have you ever tried to read thirty chapter books in three weeks? Not an easy task I can tell you. What are the odds that thirty people will all return their books the same week that I just happen to be next in line for all of them? It can’t be an accident.

The Things Go Wrong Only When I Have an Audience Curse: Have you ever noticed how you can do something right a million times but the minute someone is watching you—like a boss, supervisor, or spouse—everything goes wrong and you look like a complete fool. Uh huh, I thought so.

The Deer Are Trying to Kill Me Curse: If there is a deer crossing sign on a road (and sometime even when there isn't) a deer WILL run in front of my car. No exceptions. I've had whole herds decide to dash across the road just as I get there. If you don't believe me, ask my sister who never had a deer run in front of her car until I was in the passanger seat. It happened so often she now slows down if I'm in the car with her.

If anyone knows the proper way to rid oneself of any of the curses listed above (preferably something that includes eating chocolate and dancing under a full moon while wearing glow in the dark nail polish) please let me know right away. If you have a curse not mentioned above feel free to add it to the comments.

Cursed ones unite!

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