Avoiding the Earworm

I work upstairs. At the base of the stairs is a small lobby with a big flat screen TV that runs the same video ad nauseum. It never stops. It just runs over and over and over and over.

Most of it is tolerable enough – as much as hearing the same thing over and over again can be. I mean, I’ve raised three toddlers; I know a thing or two about hearing the same video repeatedly. But this is beyond what any two year old can throw at you. I’m pretty sure that if this were Barney and my kid was me, they’d still want to scream by now.

The most obnoxious part of the video is without a doubt the song at the end. It’s overly dramatic and sung with such pomp and grandeur that it makes me want to puke. And then it gets stuck in my head and I spend the rest of the day wishing I could puke it out.

So I’ve started trying to avoid the song. When I open the door at the top of the stairs, I pause before going down. My plan is that if the song is on, I’ll either go back through the door and wait or I’ll run down the stairs.

When I enter at the bottom, I prepare to run up the stairs. But even running, I catch enough and the earworm takes up its residency. I can’t handle it anymore. I think I might be close to insanity.

This brings us to today. Today, I entered at the base of the stairs and heard the song. It’s cold outside so I was wearing gloves and a stocking cap with earflaps. I tried to press my fingers into my ears but there was too much fabric and hair blocking me. I could still hear the song. I slipped my fingers under the flaps of the cap and began to sing “La-la-la-la-la-la.”

That was working. The problem, though, was that there was a door at the top of the stairs. I’d have to remove a finger to open the door. I’d be able to hear the song.

Determined not to hear another bar, I increased my volume as I prepared to open the door. I opened it and rushed through, loudly and monotonously singing “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA“… and then… nearly ran over a shocked coworker.

He looked at me and exclaimed, “What the HELL?!”

I burst out in nervous laughter and rolled along the wall away from him. “Oh, man. Oh, man,” I said. “Ok, that was embarrassing. I can’t handle that song down there. I just can’t. I couldn’t stand to hear it again.”

“Well, I’m tired of it too,” he said. “I just don’t go to such extremes.”

Such extremes, indeed. At least my witness was a coworker and not a stranger. And at least he didn’t catch me singing my sped-up version of the Smurf’s theme song. That’s my song-blocker of choice when I’m feeling particularly cheerful. He might have felt compelled to mention the incident to our boss then. As is, I suspect I won’t hear the end of this for a very long time.

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