Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blame it on the Bandersnatch

There was a song playing over and over in my head.  Sometimes when I have a song in my head it's naked lyrics.  Sometimes it's with full orchestra accompaniment.  This time I had orchestra and Eydie Gorme's voice too.

Blame it on the Bossa Nova with it's magic spell 
Blame it on the Bossa Nova that he did so well
All it took was just one little dance
and then it ended up a big romance
Blame it on the Bossa Nova
the dance of love

For as long as I can remember, the remedy for a song stuck in my head has been the same.  Sing a partially remembered song I learned in grade school music class. 

The Mademoiselle from something something parlez-vous 
The Mademoiselle from something something parlez-vous 
The Mademoiselle and blah blah blah
the Mademoiselle and la la la 
Rinky dinky parlez- vous 

It almost always works.  By the time I hit the Rinky Dinky line for the second or third time, the song that was stuck in my head is banished.  Curiously, it is not replaced by the Mademoiselle song.  Why?  Maybe it's because I don't understand French and don't really know what the song is about.  Perhaps I believe it'll work, so it does.  Could be that it's happy magic.

Now and then, however, it doesn't work.  For some dark reason the Rinky Dinky doesn't erase the tape in my head so I must try something else.  I've tried singing other songs.  Other songs don't work.  If the Mademoiselle song fails, another song will not work either. 

Forcing myself to think about other stuff sometimes works but - and this is sort of neat- what I think about must be novel.  I can't simply fill my head with say, loving thoughts of The Handsome One.  I can't proudly recall past successes on the softball field.  Imaginative interpretations of cloud formations are an effective strategy.  Wild conspiracy theories work.  Lots of different ideas have proved successful in removing the song.  But they must be absolutely new ideas. 

Absent the novel element,  I'll just end up thinking about something with the unwelcome song in the background.  This is an improvement, but not a solution. Thus, I must come up with a completely unique thought.

My yard, as it so often does, offered inspiration.  From the yard sprung a novelty.

There was a hole in the ground in the grass right next to a stepping stone.  A spray of dirt fanned from one side of the hole.  It was not a terribly large hole, thus the likely culprit was a ground squirrel.  I already had a trowel in my hand.  (I'd been picking up after my dogs).  So I filled the hole back up with the trowel and gave it a couple of good firm stomps with my foot. 

The following day, as usual, I was patrolling the yard, armed with the trowel.  Back at that stepping stone, the hole had been re dug.  The spray of dirt now surrounded the hole, as though punctuating the message:  this hole is here to stay!  Feeling vaguely uneasy,  I glanced around.  Then I crouched down and peered into the hole, half expecting to be struck in the face with whatever this hole dweller used as a weapon.  It was at this moment that I recalled a really cool vocabulary word.

bandersnatch     (BAN-der- snach)  noun
-an imaginary wild animal of fierce disposition

Suppose a bandersnatch dug that hole?  There may be a bandersnatch living under my back yard. Perhaps there are a series of tunnels running under the yards in the entire neighborhood.  Suppose there are dozens, even hundreds of bandersnatches coordinating some nefarious plot?

Eydie Gorme' and the Bossa Nova have left my head.  

I carry a larger trowel these days.



  1. The song that drives me crazy is Barry Manilow's -
    Copacabana. "Her name was Lola..."

  2. Her name was Lola,
    She was a showgirl.
    Yellow feathers in her hair
    And her dress cut up to there.
    She would merengue
    And do the cha-cha....

    Are you ready to shoot me yet, Evie?

  3. Oh NOOOO! It'll take days to get that out of my head!
    "The hottest spot North of Havana...."

  4. Apparently Duran Duran's Rio works to banish an annoying song out of the brain. Of course, then you're stuck with "her name is Rio..." all day.

    I don't know the tune of that Barry Manilow song... but I'll take Eve's word about its effect.

    And what an adorable dog!