Lately, I haven’t been listening to music as much as I used to. The weather is perfect, all the windows are open, and I want to be a little considerate about inflicting my playlist on my neighbors. Also, sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy the natural sounds of chirping birds and the backing-up alerts of nearby trucks. However, music still finds a way to hog-tie my brain in these moments of solitude — and not just any music, but very short snippets of the excruciatingly annoying stuff. I refer, of course, to the common earworm, the phenomenon of irritating music fragments getting stuck in one’s head. On Saturday, we worked in the backyard. Amy tore out grass and enlarged and ammended our flower beds. I felled two sizeable scrub maples that had grown up through the shrubs in our west border. By the way, I heartily recommend the Stanley® FatMax™ Hand Saw that I’ve been using. It’s short and easy to wield, it has a thicker blade which does not bind, and the SharpTooth™ technology allows it to cut on both the push and pull stroke, so the work goes twice as fast. Several men here in the heartland of small gas engines have been shocked to hear that I didn’t use a chain saw, but I don’t know of any chain saws that cost fifteen bucks and which I can use the next day to cut some trim boards. A chain saw would sit in my garage 364 days per year. Besides, they’re so noisy.
Instead, while I cut and bundled all the maple branches and sawed the trunk into neat logs, I was enjoying peace and quiet — and the voice of Kenny Loggins singing.
People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one … This verse played over and over in my head, blurring at the end where I had forgotten the words, and then switching over to the complete chorus: Even though we ain’t got money / I’m so in love with you honey … And the rest. This went on for two or three hours.
I must have heard “Danny’s Song” (and Anne Murray’s cover version) six thousand times in my life, but never deliberately, and I finally had to go into the house and fire up the laptop to determine the title and the forgotten lyrics. It turns out forgetting them was probably a good thing: Seems as though a month ago I was Beta-Chi / Never got high, oh, I was a sorry guy. Man, I hate to think about how much that one song must have made him over the years.
While I was in the house, I caught a Vonage commercial on TV, and their insane jingle (“Woo Hoo” by the 5,6,7,8’s ) took the place of “Danny’s Song.” Wonderful. I might as well have had Daffy Duck straddling my neck and slobbering into my ear.
Since then, those two have come back momentarily, but this morning a brand new earworm dislodged them both — an earworm of the highest, most maddeningly absurd order. Not only is this new tune a horrible and catchy song in its own right, it also leeches its tawdry lyrics onto the already exasperating Yuletide season without the slightest hint of shame. And it’s playing on endless repeat in my head on a beautiful August day. It is “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John. It must have been triggered by looking at my previous blog entry.