Russ Batenhorst

Russ Batenhorst

Just wondering, what would be the worst kind of ear worm to be stuck with?

As a refresher, an ear worm is what they call it when — for whatever inexplicable reason — you have a particular song “stuck in your head.”

To put it more professionally, here’s a definition straight from the world of Google: “A catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person’s mind.”

I thought about this while mowing the lawn the other day and realizing — for whatever inexplicable reason — the music of “Godspell” was going through my mind.

Now, there may be a logical reason for this one.

My son’s high school put on a production of “Godspell” when he was there, and since I like memories of my son, for some reason this one may have popped up.

Still, it’s weird to be cutting the grass and wondering “when will God save the people” at the same time.

Still, it makes one wonder what would be a bad ear worm.

Probably any song that, when mentioned, elicits a response along the lines of, “Oh great, now that song is going to stuck in my head all day.”

I usually utter that statement anytime Abba is mentioned.

Actually, I think I said it earlier this week when I was watching the Nebraska-Arkansas baseball game on TV.

It was an exciting time of the game. The home-standing Arkansas team was staging a rally, the crowd was going bonkers and the PA controller played “Baby Shark” over the speakers.


Could there be a worse song have stuck in your head? I think not.

I instantly feared that I would go to sleep that night with “Baby Shark” taking over my mind and instantly finishing off the short trip to insanity I seem to live every day.

Of course, if that “Whoo, pig suey” chant of the Arkansas fans could be considered a song, and thus candidate for ear worm status, it would push “Baby Shark” out of the number one slot in a heartbeat.

You don’t even have to know the name of the song for it to be an ear worm.

Or have it be a “real” song.

There is one song that should be deeply ingrained in my mind for decades to come after the excruciating experience I had this week.

It’s the customer service on-hold music for a certain communications company that shall remain nameless.

After a few minutes of button-pushing to get to a real human, I explained my issue. The person put me on hold to check it out and get right back to me.

The on-hold music, about a 30-second loop, began. And continued.

I put the phone on speaker, took it out to the kitchen, fixed my lunch, returned to the other room, ate my lunch and finally got so frustrated I hung up the phone at the one-hour-and-three-minutes mark.

I’ve been humming versions of that blasted song since. That’s an ear worm that will require a major exterminator.

Another example from this week: For whatever inexplicable reason, while doing some outdoor painting, I found myself humming along to “Put on a Happy Face” as the tune took up residency in my otherwise clutter-free mind.

I tried to diagnose that one, too, when I realized a couple of nights prior, I did see a tribute to Dick Van Dyke on TV, and you’ll never guess what song he sang in “Bye-Bye Birdie.”

Not sure if realizing that put a happy face on me or not, but at least it answered a question.

Knowing the words is also not a requirement. I heard a medley of soon to be returning Broadway songs on a late-night TV show this week, and now “Da-da-da-dat-da” from Hamilton is going through my mind. I had to Google it to make sure I had that right. I guess it’s part of a song that King George sings in the hit musical.

So, from Broadway to Disney to ballparks and high school stages, all type of ear worms are out there.

But I guess the only thing worse than bad music would be no music at all, so I’ll settle for whatever ear worm that crawls into my mind.


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