March 3, 2021

The Rev George Yandell, Rector


I owe Bill Pattillo for giving me that word “earworm”. He used it with me about 10 years ago- it describes that tune you can’t get out of your head- it keeps burbling up from your inner self, taking residence in your ear AND IT WON’T QUIT. Knowing the syndrome has a name does not keep me safe from its assaults.

Don Henley’s song ‘This is the End of the Innocence’ is the worm that’s been plaguing me for weeks. Why? My subconscious has yet to tell me. I’ve been playing it in the car, resonating with the lyrics, trying to expunge it. But my hunch is that I am longing for the earlier times when covid hadn’t struck and we could be together in what now seems to be gauzy, blissful times in the sun. Oh no, not “We Had Joy We Had Fun We had Seasons in the Sun—” stop it!

Another earworm has taken up permanent residence in my subconscious- it’s the tune ‘Kingsfold’ from our hymnal. That tricksy part of my psyche defaults to it unbidden in quiet moments. That tune is used in two hymns- this is one I seem to prefer: Hymn 292

“Oh Jesus, crowned with all renown, since thou the earth hast trod, thou reignest and by thee come down henceforth the gifts of God.”

This second portion of the verse bounds and rebounds around in me: “Thine is the health and thine the wealth that in our halls abound, and thine the beauty and the joy with which the years are crowned.” To me it’s almost a reminiscence of pre-covid times. But that’s too simple an explanation, isn’t it?

It could be that I sang it in the boys’ choir on Sundays during the fall. It could be that it’s a most singable, lovely song. But that’s the thing- I CAN’T KNOW. It just starts up like a holy jukebox with only one disc.

The juke box in our house at Emory always contained Led Zeppelin’s song “Black Dog” even when other titles were switched out. “Hey, hey mama, said the way you move. Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.” I could always tell upstairs when David came back from class. He’d cue up that song in the huge party room downstairs and start blasting out the lyrics with Robert Plant at top volume. Maybe I should seek him out and suggest it become an earworm for him. Would that be fair? Can one remove the worm in thine own ear by infusing it in the ear of another?

Googling ‘earworm cure’ yields this and many other results:

5 Ways to Get Rid of Earworms: According to Science LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE SONG. Earworms tend to be small fragments of music that repeat over and over (often a song’s refrain or chorus). LISTEN TO A “CURE TUNE.”. The same study also found that some subjects used competing songs, or “cure tunes,” to control their earworms. DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH SOMETHING ELSE. … CHEW GUM. … LEAVE IT ALONE. … Hmmh- don’t seem like cures to me. They’re just substituting other activities until the dreaded worm slinks back into my ear again. Oh well, here’s one for the road: “All the leaves are brown….” Come out, come out, wherever you are. G. Yandell