The Danger of Earworms
David Burchett David Burchett's weblog
- 2008 Oct 01
One of my favorite comic strips is the usually funny and occasionally disturbing Pearls Before Swine. Recently the resident bad guy (aptly named Rat) is singing the John Denver song “Country Roads”. When asked what he is doing Rat answers that he is planting “earworms”. An earworm is a term for a portion of a song that becomes "stuck" in your head and you cannot get it out of your mind. Soon you are literally out of your mind. A survey of several hundred students came up with a list of the most insidious earworms.
Chili's "Baby Back Ribs" jingle (“I want my baby back, baby back, baby back…”)
Who Let the Dogs Out (“Who let the dogs out…woof, woof, woof, woof…Who let the dogs out…woof, woof, woof, woof…”)
Kit-Kat candy-bar jingle ("Gimme a Break ...")
The Lion Sleeps Tonight (“We-de-de-de, de-de-de-de-de de, we-um-um-a-way – drum fill – We-de-de-de, de-de-de-de-de de, we-um-um-a-way…A wimoweh, a-wimoweh a-wimoweh, a wimoweh”) Note: That also makes your spell check go nuts.
"It's a Small World After All" (“It’s a small world after all…it’s a small world after all…it’s a small, small world…”)
From the Disney earworm file I would add the Pirates of the Caribbean (“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me…”)
I have to confess to a really bad Christian moment. I have been known to hum The Chicken Dance in a crowded office space and then listen for the earworm to take root. Someone will start humming the song and catch themselves. Depending on the setting it will be followed by cursing or perhaps by Christian cursing.
“Dadgummit you skalawag!”
I know. I am a sinner. But it is pretty funny to watch.
There are lots of other songs that you absolutely hate to hear because you know the “earworm” will bury deep in your brain for the rest of the day. But musical earworms are generally just annoying. Earworms spoken by Satan and our past are really dangerous. These earworms damage our relationships and even our walk with Jesus. These are the portions of our life history and spiritual failures that get stuck in our heads. You know what I mean. Those old tapes get played and the spiritual battle earworm takes hold and we cannot get it out of our head.
“You will never change.”
“Why even try? You will just fail again.”
“You are not enough.”
“You are faking and everyone knows.”
“Everyone is doing fine except you.”
“You are not smart enough…pretty enough…tough enough…whatever enough”
“God is tired of your failures and He is tired of you.”
Satan's debilitating lies are even meaner than me humming the Chicken Dance. He will plant those damaging earworms in your heart and mind. And if you don’t have a defense plan they will rob you of your peace, joy and relationships. I will defer again to my friends at TrueFaced. Their book and principles have helped me to recognize and repel Satan’s earworms. When I hear those old tapes start playing I simply think or say out loud this simple statement of fact.
“That is not who I am anymore.”
Because of Christ I am a new person. I have been changed. And my mission is to allow God to love me and mature me into what is already true about me. I am a saint who sometimes sins, not a sinner trying to become a saint. So when the earworms of deceit and destruction start in your mind you can shut them down by simply stating the truth.
That is not who I am anymore.
Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. (I Corinthians 5, NLT)
By the way…it is okay to let that passage get stuck in your head. In fact, I recommend it.