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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Sing a Song of… Somethingsomethingsomething

I’m soon to make a raving fool of myself.

I say that not because the law of averages exists and I haven’t embarrassed myself in the last twelve seconds, nor because it’s a day ending in a ‘Y’.

Those conditions still hold, of course. ‘Raving fool’ is basically par for the course at this point. And I’m usually the one getting thwacked with a 3-wood.

But this is different. This time, I can see my lunacy coming. It’s like I’m standing at the edge of a tall cliff, staring down at my own inner idiot.

(He’s making faces and sticking its tongue out at me. And now he’s mooning me.

He just tripped over his underpants headfirst into a ravine. Nice. Idiot.)

Here’s the problem: I have a song running through my head. It’s been there for days, and I don’t know what it is. Don’t know who sings it, don’t know when it came out, and I forget where I heard it. Could be in my MP3 collection, right now, taunting me from this very computer. Don’t know. And what’s worse, I don’t even know enough to find out what it is. I only know enough to cause myself mental pain and anguish. And eventually, raving foolery.

“I couldn’t carry a melody if you crammed it facefirst in a Bjorn and tied it around my neck in a double windsor bow.”

Because this song is like some kind of Chinese musical torture. I have this tiny piece of song — the barest snippet of half-remembered snippet — in my brain. I don’t even have lyrics, exactly. I just know there’s some kind of pause or crescendo, and then a few words I don’t recall, and then this sort of staccato-filtered ‘ge-e-e-et down on your knees‘.

Or maybe it’s ‘get up off your knees‘. Or ‘get busy with your knees‘. For all I freaking know, it’s ‘rub new medicated Vaseline on your knees‘, and I’ve been humming a damned petroleum jelly commercial in my head for the past three weeks.

(Which is perhaps not as shameful as the summer I spent involuntarily screaming ‘TROJAN MAAAAAAN!!‘ after one too many times spent sleeping on the couch with late-night TV ads blaring.

But it would be a close second.)

I’m pretty sure this isn’t a Vaseline jingle, or any other kind of ad. And if it is, I don’t know what I’d do, exactly. Buy all the product I could find, because it’s so damned catchy? Or beat their ad weenies with a rusty crowbar, for injecting three seconds of their stupid jingle into my fragile cerebellum?

(Probably the beating, naturally. All marketing types deserve a good thrashing now and then, for something they’ve done. Or they’re about to do, or are doing right this very moment.

Also, a simple assault charge would be a lot easier to explain to my wife than why I suddenly bought forty-three cases of new medicated Vaseline jelly. Marital vows only take you so far in a relationship.)

Anyway, this song. No idea what it is, but it’s persistent as hell. It’s wrapped its grubby little claws around some poor cluster of my neurons, and it’s not letting go. So I have to find out what it is — not because I love the song, or its my new fave OMG killer ringtone — but just so I can play the damned song through six or eight times and shake it out of my head. That’s how it works. That’s what I have to do to restore some semblance of sanity.

But I’ve got nothing to go on. I tried looking up lyrics online, and I’ll tell you this: if you ever decide to Google ‘get up OR get down OR get busy on’ and anything to do with ‘knees’, then you’d better either have your search ‘family filter’ set to “Pope” or be prepared for a bunch of image hits that are not anything to do with the song that’s in my head.

(Although the people in the photos may well each have forty-three cases of Vaseline in their pantry. For various uncomfortable meanings of the word ‘pantry’.)

That leaves one last resort — a final Hail Mary heave only available to me thanks to wonders of 21st century technology: my Android phone, and the SoundHound app, which can purportedly identify a song based only on someone humming the tune.

I’ve got the app. I know the tune, or some small part of it. And last I checked, I had a hummer. I’m missing none of the ingredients needed to grease this thing up and put it to bed for good.

Except that I have zero musical capability. I couldn’t carry a melody if you crammed it facefirst in a Bjorn and tied it around my neck in a double windsor bow. The situation is hopeless; I can’t possibly create the right series and pitch of consecutive noises to tell my phone what song is boring through my hemispheres night and day. But that’s the only way to get rid of it. So I have to try.

And I’ve been here before. Oh, yes. This is not virgin territory, by any stretch. Last time this happened, the song — I found out months later — was Laid, by James. Didn’t know that. Had never heard the song name, and the artist didn’t ring a particular bell.

Which is why, months earlier, I’d sat with the door locked and blinds down in my bedroom unevenly warbling, ‘Weee-EEEE-ooooo-ooo-hooo! WHEY-EEEEE! HOOO! OOOOH!!‘ at my phone for three hours one weekend. And what did I get for my troubles?

A sore throat for three days, and a stupid SoundHound app asking me if I was trying to find something off ‘Mr. Ed Sings the Blues‘. Effing smartass.

And how will I be spending this weekend, locked in my bedroom with the blinds pulled tight?

I’ll give you one guess, and two hints — it might give me bronchitis, and it won’t involve forty-three cases of medicated Vaseline. ‘On my knees,’ indeed.

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