Posted by Spike
When I was on my mission in Poland ten years ago, I was sitting in a McDonald's* when I heard the song '74-'75 by the Connells playing in the background. In case you have never heard the song, it's a quiet, mournful, sentimental song of a guy singing about his high school class and classmates. It has an infectious melody, the kind that you find yourself singing. I'd never heard this song before, but the next day I found myself singing the 5 words of the song that I could remember. It was a little annoying. The next day, it was still in my head. And the next day. And the next day.
When I get a song stuck in my head, the usual solution is to listen to other music until it's gone. However, Mormon missionaries such as myself weren't allowed to listen to music of that sort (unless you overhear it in a public place, like McDonald's, which is how I heard the cursed song in the first place). I was, therefore, unable get the tune out of my head. I tried listening to classical music, with no success. Consequently, I found myself humming this song several times a day for two entire years.
When I got home from my mission, one of the first things I did was to listen to that song, just so I would know more than 5 words. (shockingly, I discovered it only has about 16 words, so I was most of the way to having it memorized on that fateful day in McDonald's). The second thing I did was to never listen to that song again.
A few years later, I was in a department store where they had a TV showing music videos. They showed a video of a song that was, like 74 75, haunting, melancholy, and infectious. When I got home that night, I once again got a little piece of that song stuck in my head. The line was "what if I was not your only friend in this world." I tried to figure out what song it was with no luck. No longer being a missionary, I had a little more success getting this song unstuck by drowning it out with other music. But it still popped into my head once every few days for about six years. I tried searching for it by looking up the line I remembered on Google, but without success. Then about 3 months ago, I learned a useful thing about Google, which is that you can search for exact quotes by using quotation marks.** It's called "Last Stop: This Town" by the Eels. I then found the video on Youtube and watched/listened to it about 500 times. Its a great song. Haunting and sad. From what I understand, the guy who wrote it had a sister who has just killed herself, so he kind of wrote it to her. Anyway, I recommend it.
Supposedly, when you stop thinking about something consciously, your brain keeps working on it, which is why an answer to something you had been wondering will sometimes come to you. ***
*yes, they do have McDonald's in Poland, although they do not serve sausage biscuits; they serve hamburgers from the moment they open at 6:30.
**Ok, ok, I admit it. I am stupid, because I am the last person in America to realize this. I knew you could do it on other search engines, and in fact, I consider myself an expert at using the legal search engines, Lexis and Westlaw. I just didn't know Google could do it. And in fact, I assumed they couldn't because they always give me that nasty prompt saying that other Boolean operators, such as "and" and "or" are unnecessary when I use them.
*** Sorry this is not too funny. What do you think I am, Hollywood?