We were walking down the beach one evening over this past weekend, minding our own business, until lo and behold, this sight came before us. A giant, inflatable Unicorn! Not the sort of thing I see every day. I was so surprised and so tickled by this that I burst out laughing. It's the sort of thing you cannot in-see. I would like to note here that nobody was offended by my laughter and in fact, did not seem to notice it at all.
It is obviously, a floaty toy for the water. There are handholds and a place to sit well, and it's made out of plastic of course. But it might just have well been a real unicorn, it is that unique. Very cool.
Except for the part where the instant I saw it, my brain began playing a song I had not thought about in probably forty plus years. Way back in the late sixties/early seventies there was a Canadian band called the Irish Rovers and they had a huge hit (at least where I lived at that time it was big) called, "The Unicorn Song". It's an adorable little ditty about Noah calling all the animals onto the Ark and God's orders to him, "Cats and Rats and Elephants and As sure as you're born, don't you forget my unicorn".
My brain is still playing that song. Cannot seem to stop. I'm sure this has happened to you as well. Happens to me a lot. It's called an "earworm". Not an actually worm of course, it's more of a cognitive "itch". There are a lot of unproven theories about it all but essentially, there is something about that particular big of music or lyric that triggers something in a person's auditory cortex that causes the music to repeat on a loop. It needn't be the entire song, sometimes it's just one musical phrase. But there it is. Over and over and over....
It turns out that certain people have more of a tendency toward earworms, Musicians are at the top of that list. People with OCD also rank pretty high. Women are more prone to earworms than men. And anyone who is fatigued or stressed is a prime candidate. Well, hmmm, I am a musician, a woman and I'm tired pretty much all of the time so, I guess I am the poster child for earworms.
The late Shel Silverstein, who wrote the Unicorn Song, also wrote a lot of the music for the band, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, later called just, Dr. Hook. Dr. Hook was a favourite of mine and interestingly, to me anyway, a lot of their music earworms me too. I do not think that is a coincidence Mr. Silverstein!
Much as I would like to, I cannot blame the composer or either band. It suspect that it's just the way my brain is wired. I don't remember a time when I didn't have at least one song circling around in my brain. In fact, I have days when whatever people say will remind me of a song and then that song repeats until someone else says something which brings to mind another song and that circles until, well you get the idea. A simple cheery, "Isn't it a beautiful morning" from a fellow morning walker and suddenly the cast of Oklahoma is singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning" in my head.
It doesn't actually bother me at all. It's like being in a weird movie. Everything I do has music underscoring it. Very cool. And it's way in the background of my mind. It's not a distraction at all. In fact, I'd say that instead it enhances my life.
If it suddenly started to bother me, I have read that there are ways to combat the dreaded earworms plague. Chewing gum is supposed to help or listening to a different song. (which in my case would simply lead to a different song playing in my head for awhile). Solving Sudokus that are especially difficult is supposed to stop an earworm in it's tracks. Alas I am mathematically impaired. I wonder if crossword puzzles would work the same way? The last suggesting was to just play the doggone song and listen to it in it's entirety. I am positive that one does not work for me as I often earworm the entire score of one musical or another. But it's nice to know that these suggestions work for other people.
I've read that more than 97% of people all over the planet have, at one time or another, experienced this phenomenon. It may be called other things, Ohrwurms, repetunitist or melodymania, but whatever it's called, it's interesting.
So my Unicorn Song and I are about to get ready to dance and sing through our day. Maybe it's why I'm almost always in a really good mood. On the inside, I have some great tunes playing. Hard to be in a bad mood when you are listening to great music. Sorry you can't hear the songs in my head. It's a party in there.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.