Stuck In the Head

November 18, 2004

A friend of mine recently came to me to tell me he just couldn’t get the song "It’s A Small World" out of his head. I sympathized. It’s bad enough to have a song stuck in your head, even if it’s a song you like, but if it’s something really annoying it isn’t long before you just want to get an ice pick and perform a transorbital lobotomy on yourself. I offered him the only bit of advice I could come up with. I sang, "Oh, Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey!" I think it worked. He turned the ice pick away from himself and pointed at me.

This raises several important questions: why do so few people own ice picks any more? Is it because refrigerators that dispense ice cubes have become so common? Would these refrigerators have saved Trotsky? These questions may never be answered. Fortunately the question of why songs get stuck in your head may also never be answered. I’m in no hurry to answer it, and although I know of at least one research study that was conducted to find out why songs get stuck in your head, it was done solely by marketing researchers and not anyone actually involved with science. Science developed refrigerators that dispense ice cubes, but marketing convinced all of us to throw away our ice picks and buy new refrigerators even though the old ones were built so well they’re now keeping landfills cold. This just shows what a powerful team science and marketing can be, while they’re pretty useless on their own.

For instance, scientists discovered that an image could be broken down into particles, transmitted through the air, and reconstructed in a small box with a screen, but it took an expert in marketing to take that box and say, "Hey, there’s a football game on channel 2!" And experts in marketing, with no help at all from scientists, developed internet pop-up windows. But I digress. I can only hope scientists and marketing experts don’t get together to determine why songs get stuck in our heads because you know the next step will be writing songs guaranteed to stick with us no matter what. If that happens look for the sudden reappearance of ice picks.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


TOP TEN Excuses – If You Get Caught Sleeping At Your Desk At Work:

10. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

9. "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to."

8. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the white-out. You probably got here just in time!"

7. "I wasn’t sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm."

6. "I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance."

5. "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress. Are you discriminatory toward people who practice Yoga?"

4. "Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

3. "The coffee machine is broken…"

2. "Someone must’ve put decaf in the wrong pot…"

And the #1 excuse to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk.

1. " …… AMEN!"

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