Earworm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


Earworm June 30, 2018 ~ Chris Green ~ Edit "Earworm"



earworm



Earworm by Chris Green



I wake up for the third morning in a row with the chorus of Dominique going round in my head. I don’t understand where this can have come from. I have not heard The Singing Nun’s tiresome tune for
fifty years. You have probably never heard The Singing Nun in which case you will have no idea what I’m talking about. Perhaps you do not even get earworms. Perhaps, like my neighbour, Mrs
Oosterhuis, you can listen to Smooth Extra in your garden all day without wanting to put a hammer through the radio. I can’t. I have to be particular what I listen to. When I get an earworm,
unfortunately, it sticks around.


Earworm by Chris Green

I wake up for the third morning in a row with the chorus of Dominique going round in my head. I don’t understand where this can have come from. I have not heard The Singing Nun’s tiresome tune for fifty years. You have probably never heard The Singing Nun in which case you will have no idea what I’m talking about. Perhaps you do not even get earworms. Perhaps, like my neighbour, Mrs Oosterhuis, you can listen to Smooth Extra in your garden all day without wanting to put a hammer through the radio. I can’t. I have to be particular what I listen to. When I get an earworm, unfortunately, it sticks around.

Hearing any catchy melody is liable to set one off. Smooth Extra, of course, plays nothing but middle-of-the-road classics, designed to bury themselves deep into the listener’s subconscious. I cannot go outside if Mrs Oosterhuis has the radio on. But, I am so sensitive to the phenomenon, it only takes a name heard in passing to set off an earworm. Suzanne (takes you down to her place near the river) Caroline (sweet Caroline, duh, duh, duh). Or even a word. Silver (you’re everywhere and nowhere, baby), War (huh, what is it good for?). And every time I see a dog, Who Let The Dogs Out forces itself upon me. Each time an earworm develops, the blessed thing is likely to plague me until it is replaced by another. In this case, Dominique (a nique a nique), a weird one indeed. I have consciously tried to supplant it but it won’t go away.

Science has looked into the earworm phenomenon and lists of tunes with the greatest earworm potential have been produced. Among those which regularly appear in the top ten are Bohemian Rhapsody, Can’t Get You out of My Head and 500 Miles. This is as maybe. You could argue about it until the cows come home but Dominique is the most invasive earworm I’ve ever had. It’s driving me crazy.

Things have been getting pretty strange ever since it started. Last night I watched a forty minute film where three silhouetted figures dressed as the grim reaper threw ping-pong balls into a contrabass clarinet played by a rotating musician. It was on an Australian internet TV channel. For some reason, this was the only channel I could get on my Smart TV. I had been hoping to distract myself by watching the final episode of the Philip C. Dark thriller, Muddy Water. Perhaps I had not logged in correctly. With so many passwords to remember, sometimes I feel my head is going to explode. Internet banking alone is a little like Russian roulette.

Like Mr Jones in that song by the sixties troubadour, I feel something is happening but I don’t know what it is. Is it just the tune in my head or is something more sinister taking place? Why, for instance, has it been getting dark early the last few nights? Admittedly the nights are drawing in but it is only July. It might be nothing but what are those shiny, elliptical objects on the edge of the horizon? And where have all the birds gone? Since I’ve had this earworm, all manner of changes are taking place.

My friend, Casey Rizla says the weirdness will pass.

'Nothing is ever predictable,’ he says. ‘You should learn to expect the unexpected.’

That’s all very well,’ I say. ‘But what about The Singing Nun?’

I’ll tell you what,’ he says. I will play you a tune that’s so catchy, it will see it off just like that and Mrs Oosterhuis’s radio station won’t even have it on their playlist. Karma Chameleon doesn’t come close. This is earworm gold. Not even Rivers of Babylon can touch this baby.’

Waltzing Matilda is certainly a catchy tune but I find it has no staying power and it is not long before Dominque is back. Disappointed, Casey tries another that he is certain will do the trick. This time it’s Ride of the Valkyries. Twenty minutes later, Dominique is back.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of it, I do some research. The Singing Nun, Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile) was Belgian. She was of the Dominican order which I guess goes some way to explaining the lyrics. St Dominic or Dominique was a Spanish priest. He lived very simply and travelled the land talking about the Lord. The song was a hit worldwide and went to number 1 in the US charts. Sister Smile moved in with her lesbian lover, Annie and they committed suicide together with barbiturates and alcohol in 1985. I saw her soul float through the clouds says the inscription on their gravestone.

So how does knowing this help? In a word, it doesn’t and things are getting weirder. Why was there a samba band outside the World’s End restaurant listening to the Shipping Forecast? They had made a pile of their drums and were hugging one another like there was no tomorrow. And why were those people walking their cabbages and cauliflowers in the park? On leads. Perhaps there are no longer any gods. Do I mean dogs? I’m getting confused. It’s that tune that keeps going round and round in my head. How many days is it now? I’ve lost all sense of time. I can no longer seem to tell left from right. Or right from wrong. Everything is wrong. It’s becoming difficult to believe anything. Casey Rizla says that fake news has taken over mainstream media and you need to look elsewhere for reliable information. He suggests it might be written on the subway wall. No, wait a minute! I think that was the other fellow, Simon and Garth’s uncle. Oh, what on Earth’s his name?

Something else is puzzling me. Why does the banker never wear a mac in the pouring rain? Hang on! This is a different tune. This is the one I heard the blind trumpeter playing outside The Mojo Filter this morning. It’s really infectious. It’s ….. it’s Penny Lane. Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes. It’s been in my head ….. well, all day. Dominique has gone. I was beginning to think I was going to have it surgically removed.

© Chris Green 2018: All rights reserved


Submitted: August 06, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Chris Green. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Holmesy

I am not usually a short story fan but the pace and the descriptions kept my interest - really good

Mon, August 6th, 2018 11:36am

Author
Reply

Thankyou Holmesy.
i'm pleased you enjoyed it. Plenty more short stories if you want to try them.

Regards
Chris

Mon, August 6th, 2018 4:49am

hullabaloo22

This is now my new favorite, Chris. I know those tunes that get stuck, always ones you're not keen on for some reason, but I didn't know that was earworm. Had me smiling from start to finish!

Mon, August 6th, 2018 8:13pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Hullabaloo. It is great to hear that you liked it so much. I wondered as it was such a commonplace experience that the story might be a bit throwaway so I am encouraged by your comment.
Regards
Chris

Mon, August 6th, 2018 10:49pm

Vance Currie

Aargh! When I started reading this story, your reference to the Singing Nun struck a chord in my memory, so I did a silly thing. I went into You Tube to remind myself of the song. Now I have caught the dreaded earworm too! It's actually quite a catchy song, but I know what you mean. Some songs - usually the catchy ones - simply refuse to let go of one's memory. I did enjoy the story, though. Thanks for adding the history. I imagine that a feed of barbiturates and alcohol would be enough to make anyone's soul float through the clouds. An effective cure for earworm, perhaps?

Mon, August 6th, 2018 10:08pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Joe.
I am very susceptible to earworm so the story is more or less how it is for me. I've no idea how I got The Singing Nun one though. Probably just heard the name Dominque or Dominic or something and there it was.
Regards
Chris

Mon, August 6th, 2018 10:53pm

Megan Fox

Hi Chris
I think the film you may have inadvertently logged onto may actually be our version of "Australia's Got Talent" - it sounds about right for our skill set. If you get bored with Penny Lane, go onto "Give Me A Home Among the Gum Trees" - make sure you jump up and down with your hands curled in front of you for "a sheep or two and a kangaroo". That should fix you up. I hear you on "Who Let the Dogs Out" mate.
Megan

Wed, August 8th, 2018 1:23am

Author
Reply

Thanks Megan. I will give it a go.
Regards
Chris

Tue, August 7th, 2018 11:06pm

B Douglas Slack

A funnuy tale, Chris. Earworms are the bane of existence around our house. We have several, and it doesn't take much to get one of us humming the doggone things. If I wish to distract my granddaughter, I hum a few bars of "Mah-Na, Mah-Na (Doo Doo Dee Doo Doo)" and it's off to the races. She retaliates with a tune she knows will drive me up the wall--the one from the TV series "The Tenth Kingdom". It's a play on "We Will Rock You" called "We Will Shear You". Gets me every time.

Thu, August 9th, 2018 10:10pm

Author
Reply

Hi Bill. Sorry to hear about We Will Shear You but it's usually the most annoying tunes that plant themselves in your head. The internet claims that there isa science to it. Queen tunes do feature quite heavily
Regards
Chris

Thu, August 9th, 2018 11:06pm

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