Steve Steiner

Steve Steiner

I’m sitting at my computer, wondering what to write. Suddenly, without any reason or explanation, “What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor” pops into my head and I find myself silently singing the first two verses, the only one I remember.

“What shall we do with a drunken sailor?/What shall we do with a drunken sailor?/What shall we do with a drunken sailor?/Earl-eye in the morning.

“Way hey, and an up she rises/Way hey, and an up she rises/Way hey, and an up she rises/Earl-eye in the morning?

After that, I had to look up the rest of the lyrics.

I hate when that happens; no, not the research, but the fact that “out of left field” a song I haven’t heard (or sung) in decades pops into my head.

Most times these earworms are gone within a day, but not always. Sometimes it’s not so bad and I actually enjoy these earworms. I also know where some of these originated.

For example, the other day I had this craving to actually hear “The Syncopated Clock” by Leroy Anderson after the earworm popped in my head. That was then followed by another of his compositions, “The Typewriter.” (Remember the Jerry Lewis routine of him pantomiming?)

From there I segued into “Sleigh Ride,” perhaps Leroy Anderson’s most popularly known composition, and a favorite at Christmastime (and by the way, I prefer the version without lyrics by Mitch Parrish, that is, unless it’s the version sung by either Helene Fischer or Amy Grant).

But then there are those occasions when an earworm persists, much to my annoyance. For nearly a month many years ago I couldn’t shake Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio” from running like an endless loop. I love the song, but the earworm was driving me crazy.

Then I came across an article on the topic of earworms and how to rid one’s self of one. Naturally, being skeptical, I didn’t believe it, but again, I’m a skeptic, not a cynic, so why not give it a try, I reasoned, which I did.

It worked like a charm. Now, I don’t know whether it’s because it actually did, or whether it was implanted in my brain, thus becoming self-fulfilling, but it works, at least for me.

What is it? Believe it or not, it’s another song. It’s an old French song that was put to the words of a poem by June and Ann Taylor: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

So, next time you are afflicted with a persistent earworm and can’t shake it out of your head, give “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” a try. After all, it works for me. Maybe it will work for you.

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