Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
TV TUNES STUCK IN HEAD
Please forgive me, but I’m about to do something very rude.
“Greeeeen Acres is the place to be, Farm livin’ is the life for me…”
If you are a baby boomer or a fan of the Nickelodeon and TV Land channels, you now have that stupid song stuck in your head. And right about now the late Eva Gabor’s voice is whining between your ears, “Newwww York is where I’d rather stay, I get allergic smelling hay…”
Don’t you hate it when a dumb song gets stuck in your head? Why don’t any good tunes ever get stuck there? It’s always themes to silly sitcoms or advertising jingles. “Rhapsody in Blue” never gets stuck in anyone’s head, nor does “Beethoven’s Fifth” or anything from Springsteen’s early albums, back before he became a cry-baby social activist. (“The chores!”)
I find that good tunes are stored somewhere inside my head, they just don’t get stuck in my consciousness all day long. When I concentrate on “Rhapsody in Blue,” I can hear some of those gorgeous piano solos for a few brief moments, but as soon as I stop concentrating, a sitcom theme comes right back. (“The stores!”)
With silly tunes, just one little sound bite in enough to have the entire song blaring in my brain for the entire day. I know you’re angry about the rude way I sprung “Green Acres” on you without warning, but if it’s any consolation, that melody, along with Eddie Albert and Eva’s voices, will torment me also until I fall asleep tonight—and possibly many hours afterward. (“Fresh air!”)
Any way you slice it, the human brain is a remarkable organ (and if you slice my brain, little musical notes, along with a bunch of Red Sox trivia, will come spilling out). How the brain can store numerous 1960s TV theme songs and instantly recall exact lyrics at the slightest prompt is amazing. And in my case, it’s even more amazing when you consider how many brain cells I killed in the 1970s and early ‘80s. (“Times Square!”)
On the other hand, my brain is remarkably ineffective at storing and instantly recalling important information, such as my anniversary date, where I put my car keys, and my next-door neighbor’s first name.
Once my brain forgot all three of those items at the same time. Last year I came home from work and found my two daughters staring at me as I walked through the door. Since I was carrying only a briefcase and not a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates or a new dining room set under my arm, they ran over and whispered in my ear a reminder of what day it was. “Today is Annie Verse’s birthday? Who is she?” They whispered again, slower this time, and when I realized what they were saying, I ran back to my car to go buy a gift.
As I approached my car in the driveway, I reached into my pocket for the keys—nothing. I peered through the window to see if I had left them in the ignition—not there either. I frantically began patting my pants and jacket pockets in search of the keys, looking a lot like a man trying to put out invisible flames. Just then my next-door neighbor called out, “Whatcha doing, Bill?”
“Oh nothing, Bob, er, Al, er, I mean, Lou,” I replied. “Just looking for my keys.”
“It’s Dave,” he said. “What’s that in you hand?”
Well, what do you know, it was my keys; I was holding them the whole time. “Thanks, Mike,” I said sheepishly as I jumped in the car and drove off.
So, when it comes to important bits of information, my brain is a sieve. I’d like to list a few more examples for you right now, but I can’t remember any. Of course, that does not stop my brain from running a 35-year-old audio track over and over. (“You are my wife…!”)
I’ve discovered there is only one way to remove an annoying tune from your mind (besides taking LSD or the aforementioned brain slicing). You must think of a different ‘60s sitcom theme song. Two very effective songs are the themes from “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Gilligan’s Island.” (“Goodbye city life…!”)
Pick your poison. Do you want to come an’ listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed, or sit right back a hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip? I prefer to suffer with the tune that’s already stuck in my head. At least that way I get to hear the whole song. (“Green Acres we are there!!”)
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