Silly Song Syndrome

BrainyNotesMusic exerts a profound effect on me. Not surprising, as my family sang songs of faith on all occasions. I distinctly remember strains of “God Works in Mysterious Ways” sung around my cradle upon arrival home from the hospital. …

Musical or not, 99.783 percent of humans are susceptible to a mysterious melody malady that defies both art and science. No research has yet produced an effective cure for Silly Song Syndrome, or SSS. At the disease’s onset, a motif or musical phrase appears, repeats itself, then overruns the brain. The National Center for Disease Control reports this virus acts like audio poison ivy. Once it spreads, 24/7 itching sets in, which sufferers cannot scratch.

Unbelievably, our culture fosters the growth of SSS. We, who supposedly value our children, provide toys that encourage destructive repetition. These high-tech days, when an infant pukes on his teddy, it sings “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” in Spanish, French and Chinese. Three hundred and four times each.

Or until a parent flushes the batteries.

Educational authorities claim children need repetition to learn. Oh, please. How many times did you drill your child before she could sing the Viagra jingle to your minister?

The SSS problem is rooted in the past. Remember the songs we Boomers learned? Why didn’t at least one of our brilliant generation compose alternative words to “There’s a Hole in My Bucket,” non-repetitive lyrics in which dear Liza threw the singer, the song and his stupid leaky bucket into a deep, deep well?

Even classical musical exposure cannot counteract SSS. I play it almost daily, yet do you think the “Hallelujah Chorus” or “Gloria” fill my thoughts? No, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I’ve Got Love in My Tummy” takes over my central nervous system every time.

Sundays prove particularly traumatizing. Once I awoke not with “Amazing Grace” looping in my mind, but “Barbara Manatee,” as sung by a neurotic cucumber named Larry. It is my least favorite from the Veggie Tales DVD I purchased for my grandchildren — and my husband, who requested it for his birthday. In this seemingly harmless tune, an obsessive manatee with a quavering soprano longs to attend a ball, but her love interest cannot dance.

Exactly what I want to consume my thoughts as I enter church to worship God.

Immediately, I counter by feeding my brain a mind-drilling gem from my college years: “Give me gas in my Ford, keep me truckin’ for the Lord.” Despite its commercial side, this ditty was somewhat spiritual.

It beat the heck out of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

Having read this, what song will assault your consciousness for a year? If not, how did you get rid of it?

2 thoughts on “Silly Song Syndrome

    1. rachael Post author

      Thanks, Karla! I have some favorite Veggie Tales songs besides “The Pirates that Don’t Do Anything.” I love the cheeseburger song and the moo goo gai pan song! Also like the water buffalo and sa-booooo songs. Isn’t it fun to stay a kid?


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