Earworms and Walk Up Songs

Brandon Flowers, bloody rock god

This morning I woke up with an unfortunate, but all too common, affliction. While I slept, unbeknownst to my waking brain, my sleeping brain had planted an earworm. Shaking the tired from my eyes, I sat up and planted my feet on the floor. The earworm began its assault. Come on shake your body, baby, do the conga. I know you can’t control yourself any longer. I groaned and shook my head, hoping to dislodge it from my brain. Come on shake your body, baby, do the conga. I shook it again. I know you can’t control yourself any longer. Damn. This thing was persistent today. I busied myself with the chores of the morning, hoping against all hopes it would dissipate.

I know there are people who love that song. There are people who would be thrilled waking up with that melody and those lyrics churning in their brain. I am not one of those people. While I don’t consider it one of the worst songs I have ever heard (Muskrat Love, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony top my list in that category), I could really do without the conga at 7:30 am on a Tuesday. It was a bit too much before coffee.

Alexa, play Mr. Brightside by The Killers,” I commanded.

The song, however, would not relent. I have so much to do today, though, and I don’t want to do it with that song stuck in my head. I could not wait for it to get bored with itself and fall asleep. Dire and immediate action had to be undertaken. I went straight for the big guns.

“Alexa, play Mr. Brightside by The Killers,” I commanded.

“Playing Mr. Brightside by The Killers on Apple Music,” Alexa complied.

The familiar intro to my favorite song of 2004 began. I closed my eyes, and let it consume me. The battle for supremacy in my brain began. Could Gloria Estefan take out Brandon Flowers? I doubted it. I trust my boy Brandon. He has never failed me in these clutch situations.

I’m coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine. Gotta, gotta be down because I want it all.

I hit the volume plus button (my sons learned early there is only one acceptable volume level for Mr. Brightside and it is MAX) and let the song envelop me. Brandon took control and knocked Gloria and her shaking conga butt back with every beat I nailed on my air drums. I danced around our kitchen, my head bobbing in time, my positive view of the rest of my day expanding. Goodbye, conga! The morning’s unwanted earworm broke apart, replaced by superior matter.

Destiny is calling me. Open up my eager eyes ’cause I’m Mr. Brightside.

Mr. Brightside is my walk up song. If I’m heading up to bat, bases loaded and everyone depending on me to bring my A game, I want that song playing, flowing through my bloodstream, hyping me up and giving me inner strength. Mr. Brightside makes everything better. It just does.

Do yourself a favor today and queue up your walk up song. Play it a few times or a few dozen times on repeat. Dance around with it with reckless abandon or do whatever counts as dancing in your world. Sing the lyrics as loud as you can and don’t worry about how you sound or who can hear you. Enter wholly into the music and let it increase the seratonin levels in your brain. Fully energized, walk up to the next challenge you have to face today, no matter how small, and knock it out of the park. Then run the bases with gusto while the crowd cheers only for you. You are a badass. Don’t forget it.

The Killers raising seratonin levels in Denver

Today I Present…The Poseur Blog Post

Our pop-up camper, situated in a meadow near Redstone, Colorado.

I went to bed last night with visions of the Flatirons in Boulder on fire, some of my favorite hiking spots charred and left as ash. My thoughts drifted to the 32,000 people evacuated from Colorado Springs and the cadets asked to leave the Air Force Academy, wondering if the firestorm nightmare would stop before it reached their home. And, I was thinking about the folks in Fort Collins who are approaching their third week with a fire that has burned over 87,000 acres and is still only 65% contained. As a consequence of the barrage of images of homes consumed by fires and landmarks reduced to nothing, I walked around this morning in a smoky haze of sadness. My beautiful home state is burning.

I’m sure my fondness for “home” is the same as everyone else’s. I’ve been fortunate enough to live most of my life in this gorgeous state. During the years that I lived away, I would drive back home and upon passing the Welcome to Colorful Colorado sign I would instantly feel more at peace. As much as I love travel, I love Colorado more. I am the person I am because of my life experiences here. The mountains are in my blood. When I die, I want my ashes scattered here. This is where I belong. Plain and simple.

But, in all my sadness today, feeling this incredible sense of loss for places I’ve known and loved that are either burning or in danger of it, I had a revelation. All is not lost. At least, not yet. I started thinking about next week, our national holiday. There will be no fireworks this year; fire bans statewide have ensured that. But, there’s still so much of Colorado that can be celebrated even without fireworks. So, next Wednesday morning, fires be damned, we’re hooking the pop-up to the FJ Cruiser and we’re heading to the White River National Forest near Marble, Colorado. For three days and nights, the wind in the aspens will be our patriotic tune and the shooting stars will be our fireworks. The more I think about it, the more perfect our holiday becomes. We will celebrate our nation’s independence by enjoying our own. What could be better than that?

(Post script…written at 8 p.m.)

Yawn and ick. I just reread what I wrote earlier today and didn’t have a chance to getting around to publishing. Sometimes my writing even bores me. Holy saccharin schlock. I realize that I am writing this blog to learn about the writing process, to get into the practice of writing, and to understand more about how writing “works” (or doesn’t work) for me. What I discovered today is that there are days when you will write and feel like a total hack. You’ll wonder why you even wasted your time. Still, that’s part of the experience of writing. So, I’m publishing this as is, and later I can remember that some days it just doesn’t work, and that’s okay. Like life, with writing there will be good days and bad days. Chalking today up to a bad day and moving on. Hopefully tomorrow finds me less melancholy and more inspired.