Tip of the Tongue syndrome

Have you ever had a song or a thought stuck in your head? I’ve heard it called Brain Crack and that’s a pretty good indication to how it feels.

An idea can eat away at you; a thought that crawls into your head and burrows. My mother likes to say things are like ‘a worm in the brain’. Digging and tunnelling so deep that the thought becomes a part of you, driving you to a point of madness. Kind of like the number 23.

The number 23 is both an idea and a movie which I highly recommend watching if you want to spend a few months contemplating how life is both amusing and terrifying. If you’re prone to bouts of existential crisis then you should maybe avoid it at all costs. If, like me, you are a glutton for mental punishment then you should watch it. Come back here and tell me your thoughts if you have any left that don’t scare you!

Much like the number 23 I suffer from Brain Crack, the burrowing worm of What Is That? Mine generally take the form of quotes from movies and songs. So I’m going to tell you a story of how one particular song got stuck in my head for about 10 years. And I didn’t know what the song was.

I suffered with TOT. That’s Tip of the Tongue phenomenon which you’ve no doubt had several times in your life, if you’re lucky to have it limited to such a low occurrence. It was a song I’d heard in my youth that plagued me. A memory that lingered in the forefront of my mind but I lacked something, the ability of recall lost on this ONE moment. A tune that played in my mind like a broken juke box that played the introduction music but skipped just before the singing started.

I remember, even as a young kid (say 11 or 12) being so frustrated because I couldn’t get to the next stage of the song so I couldn’t remember what I was trying to remember. It went on for years and years. The worst part of it is that when I finally did remember the song it was THE WORST DISCOVERY OF ALL TIME.

OK, maybe that’s dramatic, but when you’ve been tormented by your own brain for so long you expect the pay off to be just that, a pay off! Instead my brain confirmed something that I always assumed about myself. I am possibly insane.

The song I was stuck on? It was Carly Simon ‘Let the River Run’, the song from the movie Working Girl. I must have seen this film as a child and held onto the song for reasons unknown to myself. I only remembered it and had that Eureka! moment when I was re-watching the film with my family in my early 20’s.

Aren’t our brains just the most amazing but also frustrating instruments in the known universe? I think so.


ps. if you’re wondering why the image attached to this post is Nic Cage… well, let’s just say I’m setting you up for a future post. 😉


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