Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Pirates of the Cerebellum

So for the past five days, I have been laboring under a curse. The name of that curse is: The Song in Your Head.

You know what I mean - you hear a song, and nothing short of a lobotomy seems to be able to get it out of your brain. It has dug in, spearing deeply sidewise into your gray matter and sending off barbed hooks, lodging it deep within your mind. It is with you when you awaken and when you are working and it is the last thing you hear before you sleep. The Song in Your Head. Worse yet, the esoteric song no one else has even heard of.

Here's the song that did it to me:
"Who'll make his mark?" The captain cried
"To the devil drink a toast.
We'll fill the hold with cups of gold
And we'll feed the sea with ghosts
I see you hunger for a fortune,
You'd be better served beneath my flag
If you've the stomach for a broadside,
Come aboard, my bonnie lads!"

Now, for people UNDER the age of 30, that particular verse is from Emerson, Lake and Palmer's song "Pirates" which appeared on their "Works" album back when I was still is college. It was overproduced anthem rock, filled with synthesizer riffs that slithered across the speakers and electronic chanties that erupted from a surging tidepool of constant key changes and tempo shifts. I loved such pretentious preachings and multi-rock chordation as an angry young man, but I've mellowed and besides, its been years. I could go for a couple decades before hearing it again.

So my wife played the vinyl album on Friday, played it, sang along for a while, then moved on to "Year of the Cat". But the song, the song, the horrid, pretentious long song became lodged in my mind and has haunted me for the past five days. Add to the fact that it brought back to me a time that was the emotional equivalent to biting down on tin foil and I knew I had to get rid of it.

You get rid of a song in your head by getting a catchier, sometimes better but often worse song in your head, and for the past few days I've been trying. Yellow Submarine. Chumbawumba. Dark Side of the Moon. Paradise by the Dashboard Light. The tune from Pirates of the Caribbean. Peace Train. The Donkey Kong theme. Nothing stuck for long, even suggestions from fellow writers over beer. I strongly considered a mallet.

Then T'Ed Stark came up to me with a song caught in his head that he couldn't get rid of, which proved the ultimate salvation. He had the ultimate worse song, the one that could not be trumped, and if it was maddening, it was at least more upbeat than this haunting overproduced horror out of my past history. It was my salvation song.

Of course, I'm talking about the theme from "I Dream of Jeanie"

Everybody now!
dah-DAH dah-dah-dee-dah-dah.
dah-DAH dah-dah-dee-dah-dah.
dah-DAH dah-dah-dee-dah-dah
BUMM (pock pah-pock-pock)

And now its in YOUR head.

More later,