Reflections on motherhood...


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Number 1 cause of parental insanity

Earworm (n.): (a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm) a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within ones' mind.  Synonyms include "music meme", "humsickness", "repetunitis", "headsong", and my personal favourite, "tune wedgy".

No it's not another gross childhood illness.

You thought I was going to say sleep deprivation.  That comes a close second.  And is probably a contributory factor to the degree to which you will suffer from, or be extremely irritated by, the latest children's song stuck in your head.

Children's music has a lot to answer for.  Not only am I required to keep an entire repertoire of children's music in my head, ready to be sung at any lip-quivering moment, my payback for doing so is having to go through entire working days humming The Wonky Donkey or Puff the Magic Bloody Dragon.  And don't get me started on The Wiggles.

Catchy isn't it?  This is what's known as "Smurfing" - the practice of intentionally attempting to transfer an earworm to another.  Caught it yet?

According to research, 98% of individuals experience earworms.  In addition to being sleep deprived (and therefore, in my opinion, more likely to be afflicted by earworm), being female is also a factor in how you'll be affected by earworm.  Females are more likely to suffer earworm for longer, and be more irritated by it.

Obviously, the best way to get rid of earworm is to sing something else.  That's where having a good repertoire of children's songs comes in handy.  The trick is to choose a song that doesn't have the sticking power of the one in your head, but is still memorable enough to unstick the first one.  Try not to pick the nonsensical but equally catchy "Galoop"...

And we all know frogs go ... la di da di da
la di da di da, la di da di da ...
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