Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Elton John, Earworm From The Future

So the wife and I had this discussion the other day. She claimed that she wakes up just about every day with a song playing in her head. Often it's a song that has no business being there -- it's not like she heard the song just before falling asleep or anything. Maybe she heard it a day or two previously, maybe she hadn't heard it in months.

Regardless, the song takes root and proves all but impossible to dislodge short of replacing it with some other, equally tenacious song.

It turns out that this phenomenon has been studied in some detail by a Dr. James Kellaris of the University of Cincinnnati. He calls it an "earworm," and claims that 98% of the population has experienced (suffered from?) the phenomenon at one time or another.

I guess I hadn't thought about it until the conversation, but I'll be damned if I don't notice now every time I get one of these earworm songs stuck in my head.

And it happens a lot.

As a for instance, this morning in the shower, right after waking up, the song in my head was "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John. No reason for this -- although it did pop up on my iTunes last week, but seriously, that was a week ago. Why would it pop up today out of nowhere?

Well, the reason become clear just a couple of hours later. As I sat in my daughter's orthodonist office, waiting for them to take her braces off, what should come on the satellite radio musak playing in the office?

Yup, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

So having the song pop up in my head was the result of some sort of earworm wormhole -- an earwormhole, if you will -- a message from the future about the musak that lay in wait for me.

Of course, it might have just been a coincidence.


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