There's a Name for That

I am elated. I have recently learned the name of a phenomena that I have experienced for many years. During my peripatetic life in many places, I’ve always attended choir practice on Wednesday nights. After I get home, one of the tunes usually inhabits my head and plays itself over and over and over, often ruining my night’s sleep. I have recently learned the very appropriate name for this. It is called an ear worm.

The ear worm is not confined to nighttime. Nor is it confined to a single day. It may last one night or one week or anything between. I usually get a new one at the next choir practice.  

The ear worm may sing itself as I take a walk or as I pull weeds in my garden. On the days when it is a pleasant tune that I like, it saves me the price of an iPod. Other days, when it is the least liked song from choir rehearsal, the more I shake my head to rid myself of it, the deeper the worm seems to crawl, looking for a permanent home. The experts say the only way to get rid of one ear worm is to replace it with another. However, so far as I can tell, there is no way to control or foretell which new song at the next rehearsal will be the replacement. You might think it would be the one we practiced the most often, the one we worked on the hardest, or maybe the last one we did. Not so. I have about the same chance of choosing my weekly ear worm as I have in deciding which day this week it’s going to rain. Sometimes I get a new one attending an event such as Saturday night’s concert sponsored by the University of Southern Mississippi School of Music where the choir sang a rousing rendition of “Down to the River to Pray.” Now the ear worm is repeating, “O, sisters, let’s go down, down to the river to pray.” I will say this is one of my better worms!

Obviously, I have not learned much about how to regulate or predict this phenomena, but I am ecstatic that I have learned its name. One of the good things about being a nerd is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to make you happy. Since I love this term, I have adopted it as my ear worm of the week – or is that redundant?