Neon music sign

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The diagnosis sounds atrocious.
It hinges on repetition.
Songs that jingle in your head
make you wish that you were dead.

What’s the cause of this disease?
No one knows for certain.
Since the tunes don’t always please
they can leave you hurting.

You just confessed you do obsess
on this catchy melody:
“‘F-R-E-E, that spells free,’
rattles round inside of me.”

Just yesterday it went away,
you didn’t think of it at all
until that damn ad played again.
Don’t you know, it will not end?

“Cognitive itch”—that a son of a bitch,
could it be God’s call?
The message you were meant to get:
“It’s a Small World After All.”

They say that earworms can’t be fought.
That only makes you angrier.
The more you scratch the more you itch
and bury it in your memory.

There’s not much that you can do
to stop these “aneurhythms.”
Try to sing the whole damn song,
loud and clear, to pass it on.

When the “hum-bug” gets to you
try to find distraction.
until another one pops in.
Then it all begins again.

“Maim That Tune” you may recall,
means you’re normal after all.

Couldn’t resist re-posting this poem that originally appeared on my blog in 2010. This is an affliction I get from time-to-time and supposedly it is related to stress. Shanyn, over at dVerse Poets’ Pub, suggested we look at jingle that stay with us. At the time I wrote this there was an ad for FreeCreditReport.com that drove me crazy. Oh SNAP, I think it’s back.


26 thoughts on “Earworms

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    Chuckle. Charming and lovely example of expert word play.


  2. Imelda says:

    Ha! I am often afflicted by earworms and I like your remedy – pass it on. 🙂 Your poem made me smile.


  3. yelena says:

    a superb verse on those earworms that can get stuck in our mind for a long time..’aneurhythms’ — what a fascinating word! loved this, Victoria~~~


  4. I rarely curse, but when it comes to these little ditties that get stuck, I find myself saying some things under my breath that sound like some things you said in this brilliant, fun poem!


  5. dragonkatet says:

    Hehehe love this one, Victoria! So TRUE about them! 🙂 Usually the only way to banish them (for me) is to hear/listen to the whole song.


  6. Truedessa says:

    This was fun to read and you know the ear worms can be annoying as hell. I’m with Bjorn I just plug in my iPod and find a tune of my own and erase that other one lurking around.


  7. Anna :o] says:

    Love your “aneurhythms” too! Jingles, songs (where I only know the first line) playing in my head – now they shall be know as earwoms!


  8. Ear worms get passed around at work all the time… They are worse than chickenpox! 🙂


  9. Debi Swim says:

    When my husband says “Click it or ticket” they groan and say, “Grandpa, now that’s stuck in my head again!” Oh, those jingles… they don’t make me want to rush out and buy anything! And sometimes, they’ve been so clever that I have no idea what they are selling.

    Anyway, you said it best in your poem!


  10. tigerbrite says:

    Bird’s Eye Peas… fresh as the moment when the pod went POP:) Sorry about that….. British 60’s ITV when everyone had to buy a freezer.


  11. Oh those jingles are enough to drive anyone insane. Love your description.


  12. kaykuala says:

    Can be real irritating but one just got to bear it smiling and grimacing! Nicely Victoria!



  13. This got me laughing… I hate those melodies… even some I first like that get stuck, my own trick to clear my head of earworms is to fill my head with music that definitely not make me hum along… I have found Led Zeppelin: Kashmir works great. Probably Miles Davis to… leved your wordplay… not least the hum-bug brilliant.


  14. aprille says:

    One thing to remember though: It’s a great deal better than tinnitus 😉


  15. claudia says:

    oh there are def. tunes that you don’t get out of your ear for a while… they serve their purpose well esp. when used for ads – ha- smart marketing..


  16. Your wordplay is superlative! I like the word earworm – I never had a name for them before.
    Jock’s chairside assistant used to go dulally if anyone hummed “Didn’t we have a loverly time, the day we went to Bangor” and the others used to do just that to get her going. Not funny in my view.
    I get them regularly, usually only three or four bars, over and over, and my cure is consciously to sing out loud something in complete contrast. I think you’re right about stress being the cause.


  17. ManicDdaily says:

    You know I have this less and less for some reason. You describe it in the funniest of ways. Thanks. K.


  18. Mary says:

    Those earworms definitely do get to me too. I was at Disneyworld early summer, and “It’s a Small World” would not leave my brain for anything. I do think it is true that you can’t really fight them. They always win. A clever approach, Victoria.


  19. since last night, a Lady Antebellum song will not stop playing in my head – oh please make it stop!!!! this was a fun write and perfect for the prompt – smiles – K


  20. markwindham says:

    love it, i hate those damn worms. Of course I am also evil, so whenever someone around me complains about them I try and help out by humming the chicken dance song. 😉


  21. Glenn Buttkus says:

    The wise among us, & the most devious are aware, as Hitler was, that if we repeat a lie enough times it disguises itself as truth; often commercials, and some songs, are written to piss you off, to get your goat, and those earworms need an exorcist to eradicate them; out damned demon, out!


  22. Grace says:

    I enjoyed this one Victoria ~ There are some notes & catchy phrases that are stuck in my head ~ I just listen to another one,just to forget it, smiles ~


  23. shanyns says:

    Ha! This is totally cool, and yeah ear worms are the worst! 🙂 Great share for the prompt.


  24. brian miller says:

    haha…and here you are trying to get your own stuck in our head with that rhythm….oy…aneurhythms is funny word play…ack…hoping nothing gets stuck in my head tonight…ha…actually its a john mayer song…


  25. This hums with the rhythm of your diction. “aneurhythms” is a great play on words. An affliction we have all encountered and it does seem to be the most frustrating lyrics that get stuck in there. It’s funny how our minds enjoy torturing us. Great piece for the prompt!


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