On earworms and the removal thereof


Dear Dr. Phyl

I understand you’re the go-to guy for problems big and small so here’s my problem and please don’t laugh.  This is very serious my very mental health is at stake.  In the great scheme of things : famine, massacre, the lack of a steady supply of asparagus in my local Spar, this may seem quite trivial.  But it isn’t.  To me.  No siree.

Since I quit my dayjob I’ve been plagued with the most incredible earworms, those irritating snatches of song that repeat themselves in your brain over and over and over again.  And over again and over and over.  You get what I’m saying?

It only takes the first two bars of the Dallas theme overheard in a shop to set me off for days.  Days I tell you.  It doesn’t make any difference if I actually like the song.  Yesterday I heard “Come on Eileen” while I was buying milk and I haven’t had a moment’s peace since.  I’ve been toolooraiaay-ing ever since with not a moment’s respite.  It’s enough to drive you to drink, and speaking of that, drinking to drown an earworm is torture without end.  Not as bad as trying to reach the revenue service tax helpline, but intolerable nevertheless.

I no longer have to even hear the song to get it going in my brain.  Just reading the words “thank you for being a friend” sets me off on the Golden Girls theme to such an extent I’m considering having my eardrums surgically removed.  Since so many journalists are so lazy and incapable of thinking up a snappy headline without resorting to a cheesy song, I have only to read “I can’t get no …” to launch into “Satisfaction”.  For days and days on end.  And days.  On end.  The end, my beautiful friend.

I’m at my wits end.  I googled earworms, as you do, and they suggested replacing the earworm with something more innocuous or pleasant.  I’ve tried that.  My favorite earworm removal song is Jethro Tull “Sossity you’re a woman”, something about that extended guitar bit in the beginning really provides relief.  One or two verses and the other earworm is removed and fortunately it doesn’t replicate itself as its own earworm in my brain.  I’ve never become sick of it in itself.  But it’s only a matter of time.

So, Dr. Phyl, please advise me, should I find another dayjob or should I replace my current earworms with Bach.  I believe Bach to be the cure for what ails you, but I’m not sure if it should be the original instrumental or the Paxos guitar version of Allegro or possibly even the Adagio.

I would appreciate any advice you can give me, and thank you.  Thank you for being a friend ……. AAAAAAAARGHHHHH!



South African writer, crafter and all round animal lover
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