A Public Service Announcement

Friends, I am writing today to warn you of a public health menace, one that afflicts millions of people, one that has no real cure. It is insidious, affecting young and old alike, and no one is immune. What is this dread disease, you might ask, and what can be done to stop it? Well, folks, this contagion is none other than the dreaded earworm.

“What the heck is an earworm?” I hear you thinking. An earworm (from the German Ohrwurm) is that bit of a song that gets stuck in your head and won’t go away. In its worst manifestation, more than half of the victim’s waking hours are spent hearing the same snippet of a song in a repetitive loop; for those fortunate enough to have a mild case, the earworm is active for as little as 10 percent of the time.

As a chronic earworm sufferer, I can tell you how disabling this malady can be. The agony of hearing  “It’s A Small World” or the chorus of “Dancing Queen” over and over for hours at a time will make a person desperate to find something that will help. Some experts suggest doing something to distract yourself, like reading a novel or working anagrams, but that’s not a real solution. Others say the only thing to do is pass the song on to someone else by singing it to them. Alas, this may have worked at one time, but as the noted writer and historian Dave Barry has found, Americans aren’t any good at singing any more.

So we are left with only one thing to do. Every one out there needs to write their Congressman and demand that the government take immediate action to find an effective treatment for earworms. Our mental health depends on it.


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