I blame Kate Bush for this.
While pursuing my typical morning of procrastinating instead of editing, I made the mistake of using my internet radio tuner to navigate my way over the pond to a British station. Five minutes later, on comes Bush’s late 70s hit “Wuthering Heights”, an enormous smash hit at the time and, quite clearly, one of the most annoying songs ever written.
Naturally, within moments I have become stuck with the cognitive hell that is the “Earworm”, a six-to-eight second repeating phrase from the song that I can’t get out of my head. In this case, it’s “it’s meeee, it’s catheee, I’ve come home now/let me in at your window-oh-oh-oh.”
You’ve been there, right? I mean, some of these things are so traumatic they scar us for years. I still remember the Sharon, Lois and Bram episode of 1995 and shudder like a Tequila drinker after a night of too many worms.
Ah, but trust science (and you should) to come up with a way to deal with it. According to a new study, chewing gum and exercising your jaw muscle helps to break up the particular type of front lobe voodoo that traps an Earworm in your noggin’ no matter how crappy the tune. Previous studies have shown, optimistically, that people who suffer Earworms may have better memories than those who don’t.
So there you go: a way to save your noggin’ from a musical floggin’.