Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Sometimes you hear a song on the radio or on television that won’t stop playing in your head. These are called “earworms,” and there are two kinds:
  1. They start off as songs you genuinely like. But after you catch yourself humming them for the 300th time, they suddenly start to feel like houseguests who have worn out their welcome.

  2. They’re not enjoyable, and they only get worse. These are typically advertising jingles, disco music or hook-laden teen pop songs.
No one has ever figured out how to stop an earworm, but eventually they die a natural death, only to be replaced by something else.

Lately, I’ve noticed that there are visual stimuli that have the same effect – and of course, I’m calling them “eyeworms.” The usual characteristics of an eyeworm are that they are visually discordant, conceptually irresponsible, or emotionally troubling. Take this pizza box, for example:


Can you identify my problem with this image? I can’t stop thinking about it.

There was a lot of Internet anguish over the recent redesign of the Gap logo, which leads me to believe that I’m not alone in my suffering. Would anybody like to form a support group?


Anonymous said...

is it the tablecloth on the hearth?

Anonymous said...

So have you listen do your gift tape (shows how long ago you got it) of 23 versions of "It's a Small World Afterall" Oops, did I get the earworm started?....

Your irritating friend from Boston

Buon appetito

Maybe the pizza restaurant was in the French Quater....

Burton Meahl said...

French Pizza with a kid having a tea party too close to the fire?

Here's something that is sure to stop your current earworm:

BYE BYE Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing...
This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die

--you can thank me later.

Chris said...


Anonymous said...

You didn't mention the most insidious type of ear-worm. Children's songs. Can't tell you how many times my ear-worm is "Caribbean Amphibian", or some other Sesame Street riff like the one that goes "....could fry an egg on thee ceement, it's so caliente....hace calor, mucho calor". Barney may be worse. At least the Sesame Street people write their own tunes.....Barney recycles the tunes and adds new words, which creates the "Hey....I know that....what song is that....oh, yeah, it's Twinkle Twinkly...." Yeah, Tim....thanks for sharing THIS.