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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cruel and Exceptionally Unusual Punishment

Before I get started, I have to ask you two questions:

1. Can you give someone up for adoption who is not related to you?

2. How do you try to forget a horrible song that's on infernal eternal loop in your head? What if there are two songs, equally heinous, alternating tracks and you can't stop them?
(And a round of cocktails is not an option because it's 8:36am and I just got to work.)


Note: If you like Janis Ian or the musical Annie, you shouldn't read any further.

I know a lot of you really enjoy stories about The Boy. I am thinking of sending him to live with some of you on an alternating basis, kind of like some worldwide joint custody agreement.

We both have random bouts of insomnia, but the nice part is that we have it at different times of the night so we don't conflict and have to share the DVD player. But this morning The Boy had an early morning bout and was watching the first episode of SNL when I rolled out of bed.

He asks, "Hey, have you ever heard of Janis Ian?"

Of course I have. Janis Ian made me totally depressed about the idea of being seventeen many years before I was even a teenager. The only two songs I can recall my parents playing on the hi-fi set in the family room were "At Seventeen" and "Hey Nineteen" by Steely Dan (I just realized that's some sort of very weird coincidence... dumb songs about teenage girls... hmmm.)

I learned the truth at seventeen That love was meant for beauty queens And high school girls with clear skinned smiles Who married young and then retired


The Cuervo Gold The fine Columbian Make tonight a wonderful thing

There you have it. My musical childhood.


So The Boy starts singing "At Seventeen." Honestly, it's not just me. That has to be one of the worst songs ever written, right? Gads. And because I'm overly sensitized to it, I immediately get hooked on it in my mind. There's a deep groove in my brain where this song is lodged. I can even sing all of the lyrics back to him instantly and he's got this look of semi-admiration.

To punish him for sticking that song in my head before my eyes were properly open, I started singing "Tomorrow," from Annie, which is probably something that they used at Guantanamo Bay as a form of behaviour modification. And to my dismay, he's never seen Annie and doesn't know the song. He is immune to Annie. Cripes.

So now I am stuck on "At Seventeen" and "Tomorrow" playing on dual tracks. Mentally, it's the equivalent of stubbing your toe really hard on a big piece of furniture and then you got so mad you kicked the furniture with your other foot.

Please help me. I don't know what else to sing. And who wants dibs on The Boy's first visit?

UPDATE 10:02am: dutchbaby is mean. Funny, but mean. She just emailed me the lyrics to "It's a Small World." How can friends do that to each other? *Edvard Munch face screaming inside*


Annie December 11, 2008 at 9:28 AM  

Thanks...now you've gone and shared the earworm! :)

tangobaby December 11, 2008 at 9:30 AM  

Ewww, Annie, is that what they're called? Like in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Chekov gets that thing put in his helmet?

I think you're right...what do we do now?!

Kath December 11, 2008 at 9:38 AM  

I have read that if you start singing Van Morrison's Moondance it will drive the earworm out of your head.

Canadians have also coined the term repetune (CBC Radio) for this phenomenon!


tangobaby December 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM  

Kath, I just tried Moondance but instead I'm getting Moonshadow by Cat Stevens. I don't know if Cat Stevens is strong enough to repel Janis Ian in my head.


Did you get your box o'tricks from me yet? Are you in charge of Parliament now?

Petunia Face December 11, 2008 at 10:06 AM  

I just called, to say, I looove you! And I mean it from the bottom of my heart...

Don't thank me, thank Lionel Richie. Now THAT is the worst ear worm of them all.

bob December 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM  

nope! the worst is upon us! it's that time of year wen the kid needs to buy red shoes for his dying mommy!
now that is toe stubbingm furniture kicking, ear worming worthy!

btw, great blog!
that "blogs of note" thing actually has big payoffs for reader and writer alike, congrats!

Bill Stankus December 11, 2008 at 10:36 AM  

Oh, there are even more evil songs than Anne.

How about "The Name Game," or "The Banana Song" by Shirley Ellis....

Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Bonana fanna fo Firley
Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!

Lincoln, Lincoln bo Bincoln Bonana fanna fo Fincoln
Fee fy mo Mincoln, Lincoln!

Come on everybody!
I say now let's play a game
I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody's name
The first letter of the name, I treat it like it wasn't there
But a B or an F or an M will appear
And then I say bo add a B then I say the name and Bonana fanna and a fo
And then I say the name again with an F very plain
and a fee fy and a mo
And then I say the name again with an M this time
and there isn't any name that I can't rhyme

Arnold, Arnold bo Barnold Bonana fanna fo Farnold
Fee fy mo Marnold Arnold!

But if the first two letters are ever the same,
I drop them both and say the name like
Bob, Bob drop the B's Bo ob
For Fred, Fred drop the F's Fo red
For Mary, Mary drop the M's Mo ary
That's the only rule that is contrary.

Okay? Now say Bo: Bo
Now Tony with a B: Bony
Then Bonana fanna fo: bonana fanna fo
Then you say the name again with an F very plain: Fony
Then a fee fy and a mo: fee fy mo
Then you say the name again with an M this time: Mony
And there isn't any name that you can't rhyme

Every body do Tony!
Pretty good, let's do Billy!
Very good, let's do Marsha!
A little trick with Nick!
The name game.

Heh, heh, heh.

Monica December 11, 2008 at 10:37 AM  

Another good remedy is "Spiderman", but sometimes it backfires...and I'd hate to create a trilogy of repetunes!

Anna M Blanch December 11, 2008 at 10:52 AM  

I was a Swimmer in a past life...and it was around the time "achy Breaky Heart" was big; try having Billy Ray Cyrus in your head for hours on end as you stare at the black line on the bottom of the pool.

As for alternative suggestions - I would subject the Boy to "Annie" if only because next time it might actually have an effect!

tangobaby December 11, 2008 at 10:53 AM  

Petunia Face (cute!), Bill and Monica, I'm afraid my rut is too deep to accommodate your suggestions.

However, Bob's song about the dead mother is scaring me and I don't even want to know what it is!

Vin December 11, 2008 at 10:55 AM  

1. yes give off to adoption someone who is not your blood only if the benefit of doing so is greater than remorse. If it was blood, there would be no alternative but to keep it. in that case, remorse and regret is greater than anything

2. to get rid of any song off your head, use reverse psychology...continously tell yourself "i love this song and i wanna hear it all day in my head" ..and before you know it, you would have forgotten it

and Annie needs a good beaten for being a smart mouth =-)

tangobaby December 11, 2008 at 10:55 AM  

Anna, I thought about getting the soundtrack to Annie but maybe it's something that you have to suffer through as a child and it wouldn't harm him at all. And then I would be tortured yet again, by my own hand.

I have to say that I've really never heard Achy Breaky Heart (just like I wouldn't know a Britney Spears song to save my life) so I'm going to take your word on that one.

GoesGreens December 11, 2008 at 11:08 AM  

Congratulation and regard being blog of note...
Great blog..!!!


P December 11, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

I am totally all over this topic because I have "Total of the Eclipse of the Heart" and "We Built This City" stuck in my head constantly. I sing these aloud to Fauxhawk when I feel like creating my own personal Gitmo experience. It drives him nutsy fagen. Try it with the boy.

Char December 11, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

found you through "blog of note" today - love the blogs so far! My sister tells me that I read too much into movies when I ask silly questions about how you give a child away that is not yours. :)

but...I loves me some Steely Dan - Deacon Blues

Christina December 11, 2008 at 11:18 AM  

Dying laughing!

You have all helped me move on from the 27 verses of this little light of mine sung at 10:00am service, by our nearly 100 year old church member.

I ain't gonna lie, she did bring that last verse home though.

: )

Top Ronin December 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM  

well i can tell you what not to do.

don't try to replace one bad song with many others...a downward spiral of depression and anxiety..so i hear hah.

good luck and don't punish The Boy too much...maybe have him look into more interesting music.

julochka December 11, 2008 at 11:25 AM  

i know you are in pain, but i have to admit that your pain is hilarious. and i have another song that will get in your mind and you won't get it out and it will eventually depress you..."grandma got run over by a reindeer."

and what on earth is that you're wearing today? ;-)

Vanessa December 11, 2008 at 11:46 AM  

You painted yourself into a pretty little corner now, didn't you, TBaby?

How about "We Built This City?". I was stuck with that earworm for two whole days last summer. And now I'm totally immune. It's the strong stuff, I promise you.

tangas usadas December 11, 2008 at 12:26 PM  

http://www.usadastangas.blogspot.com/ fantastic blog

justingf December 11, 2008 at 12:30 PM  

Here we go, how about some Berlin?

Watching every motion
In my foolish lover's game
On this endless ocean
Finally lovers know no shame
Turning and returning
To some secret place inside
Watching in slow motion
As you turn around and say

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Watching I keep waiting
Still anticipating love
Never hesitating
To become the fated ones
Turning and returning
To some secret place to hide
Watching in slow motion
As you turn to me and say

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Through the hourglass I saw you
In time you slipped away
When the mirror crashed I called you
And turned to hear you say
If only for today
I am unafraid

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Watching every motion
In this foolish lover's game
Haunted by the notion
Somewhere there's a love in flames
Turning and returning
To some secret place inside
Watching in slow motion
As you turn my way and say

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Johanna December 11, 2008 at 12:30 PM  

TB, there is no greater earworm retaliatory power than It's a Small World, which would have been my immediate suggestion, had I gotten here before dutchbaby. You were well advised.

Should he somehow prove to be immune to even that, try "Put the Lime in the Coconut" by Mongo Jerry.

As for adopting The Boy, I was a lot more tempted before this post.

Sarah Katie December 11, 2008 at 1:03 PM  

So now I have those songs stuck in my head, thanks. When I was little I used to go around singing "Tomorrow" pretty much constantly. I can only imagine how annoyed my parents were with me. Now, I can't stand the song, and it is torture when I get it stuck in my head, like anytime someone mentions the song or the musical, or I hear the song.

I really like your blog. Just found you because of Blogs of Note. Congrats.

detroit dog December 11, 2008 at 1:06 PM  

Annie -- ugh!

As for Janis Ian, at the age of 51 I still have many memories of falling asleep while listening to her sing Society's Child (still know the words by heart). Actually, just seeing the photo on your site made it all flood back, and I'll be singing it until tomorrow morning. Check her out singing it at age 16. Beautiful....

BTW, congrats.

B December 11, 2008 at 1:31 PM  

sing the star spangled banner, best out loud, and it will drive most revolving songs right out. I promise.

smith kaich jones December 11, 2008 at 1:57 PM  

Oh god. This is hilarious, but now I'm singing "you put the lime in the coconut . . ." and I am stuck, stuck, stuck. "Is there something I can take - I say doctor - to relieve this belly ache?" Goodness. I'm gonna try Christmas carols, because I pretty much am okay with all of them. Except that drummer boy one.

:) Debi

Johanna December 11, 2008 at 2:10 PM  

Um, that would be DEBI, not smith kaich jones. Though I imagine they're one and they same.

Johanna December 11, 2008 at 2:13 PM  

Ok, that did not make any sense, since my previous message didn't get posted....

It was just a warning about using the Coconut song as a last resort. It really has dire consequences, as evidenced by poor Debi. Sorry Debi.

"I say Doctor..."

[pounds head against wall in effort to dislodge worm]

Red Shoes December 11, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

Bob: I am very expensive.

TB, you famous lady you, shall I kidnap you away to tomorrow night's Marin Hounds show and teach you all the words to "Whiskey You're the Devil"?

tangobaby December 11, 2008 at 2:39 PM  

red shoes...no shit...really? Are we going to a show tomorrow?!!


dutchbaby December 11, 2008 at 3:17 PM  

Congratulations! I can now tell everyone I knew you when...

Genna December 11, 2008 at 8:11 PM  

"Girl from Ipanema" gets rid of any song and although it may stick for a little while, it is the perfect song so you enjoy it for a few minutes, and then it's gone.

Relyn December 11, 2008 at 8:25 PM  

Dutchbaby's got the best, but might I add

Jingle bells
Bat man smells
Robin laid an egg
Batmobile lost a wheel
and the Joker ran away

Ten times a day! AAARGH!!

(I teach seven year olds, remember.)

detroit dog December 11, 2008 at 9:03 PM  

Um, O.K. I've been sick all day and this post is just starting to sink in.

Yes, I actually like Society's Child.

But torture.... Ah, yes, torture. I lived in NYC for a number of years when The Macarena was a big deal (1996?). That was torture. Mostly because people couldn't just sing it, they had to move to it, too. And I'd keep hearing that damn song in my head for days on end.

It's a double whammy.

Sue December 11, 2008 at 11:32 PM  

Thanks for that... now I'm going to have 'Tomorrow' stuck in my head all of today... PS. I LOVED the Annie movie as a kid...

Kimberly December 12, 2008 at 5:29 AM  

Oh, gosh, this is funny. I hated that song, At Seventeen too. Hit too close to my life. And why is it that I find myself singing it sometimes? Makes no since when I loath it so.

Now Tomorrow, I love that song and any Annie song for that matter.

I'm so happy to find your blog through Blogs of Note. Have a good weekend.

Lamy December 12, 2008 at 6:36 PM  

hahaha Whenever I am with a horrible song in my head, I ask to the person next to me to sing another song. The problem is that sometimes this person next to me doesn't help. He/she sings other terrible song..
By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog. The best of it is your sense of humor!

Lamy December 12, 2008 at 6:37 PM  

hahaha Whenever I am with a horrible song in my head, I ask to the person next to me to sing another song. The problem is that sometimes this person next to me doesn't help. He/she sings other terrible song..
By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog. The best of it is your sense of humor!

Sandra December 12, 2008 at 6:48 PM  

This happens to me more often than I like. I usually wake up to something awful, like "My Girl Lollipop", get back to sleep and wake up to the next stanza. God help me.

munchy365 December 17, 2008 at 9:40 PM  

That happens to me all the time... I can be talking to someone and just suddenly a song starts playing an endless loop in my head. I have no idea how to get rid of it =\