There’s almost always a song playing in my head, at all times. During the day, this constant musical earworm is less pervasive; My days are filled with constant activity to keep the repeating lyrical loop from taking center stage.
But at night and in the early morning it’s another story. Or another song. Most nights I fall asleep to guided meditations, my iPhone earbuds extending from my head to the iPad on the night table. I do this to calm my mind, to reduce the volume on the obsessive thoughts, the planning, the recapping that tends to accompany times of slumber. But also — to reduce the volume on the songs that play in my head over and over, like a skipping record. And it works. I pay attention to my breath, on the inhales and exhales, on my belly filling with oxygen, on the feeling of air leaving my body through my nostrils.
But two hours later? “Flash! Ah, ah! Savior of the Universe! Flash! Ah, ah! He’ll save every one of us!” Those two lines repeating at full inner-head surround-sound volume ad nauseum. Why Queen’s “Flash Gordon”? I have no idea. I hadn’t heard the song in 20 plus years and I never saw the movie. Why now? At two in the morning? It’s as if my mind is a jukebox and there’s only three or four 45s and each day the records are changed out for four new, equally annoying songs.
I flip open the iPad click on another guided meditation, this time something from the 45 minute-60 minute category. A binaural beats track. Something to drown out Freddie Mercury’s impassioned cries. It eventually works, but I need almost the entire length of the meditation to knock me out again.
4am. “I am stuck on Band-Aid, cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!” Goddamnit! I’m being cerebrally tortured by 1970s-era TV advertising jingles. Now I’m just annoyed. It’s like my brain has been hijacked by terrorist earworms and their only demands are that I continue to allow myself to be a vessel for their nefarious catchy melodies and inane lyrics.
I grab my iPad and headphones again and open YouTube. I type in Band-Aid jingle. I watch ten versions of the TV commercial that aired in the 70s and 80s. The two decades that my out-of-control brain tends to pick from most often. It really is a catchy tune. I do a wiki search and discover, lo and behold, that the writer of this iconic and blood-sucking tick-like jingle is none other than Barry Manilow.
Figures. Now I’ve got Mandy stuck on repeat. How she gave and she gave without taking. Why can’t I send you away, Oh Mandy??!!