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How To Get That Song Out of Your Head

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It happens to the best of us. We're just going about our business, doing our jobs, or taking care of the kids or the pets, when all of a sudden we hear Janis Joplin in the back of our head singing, "Take another little piece of my heart, now darlin'."

It's never even the whole song that gets stuck in there. It's usually just one line that repeats over and over, like a hiccup, until something makes us forget about it. With folk music, this can be particularly hard because we don't even know who wrote the darn thing half the time. Well here's a surefire way to get that song out of your head, or your money back.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: An hour, tops

Here's How:

  1. Chug a glass of water
    You'll be focusing on not choking, which could just get that song out of your head. If it's a song by Townes Van Zandt, this could take a glass of whiskey instead of water. Use your discretion. Stick with water if you're under 21. If it doesn't work, at least you'll be sufficiently hydrated to adequately complete the other steps.
  2. Listen to the song
    Contrary to popular opinion, you don't have to actually own a CD with the song on it in order to complete this step. In fact, it may be better if you have to search for the song online. Chances are, you'll wind up on Web sites you never knew existed, which could serve to take your mind off the song.
  3. Get out of the house
    Or the office, or wherever you are when the song hits you. A change of scenery always helps, no matter what ails you. If you can't get out of the house or the office, then turn on the TV or Google something ridiculous like "bedbugs" (they're back!) and get your mind focused on something else for a while. If you own an instrument, this is a good time to write a song.
  4. Call someone and ask for help
    Of course, whenever I really need someone for this purpose, nobody is answering their phone. It may work better for you. Calling a friend or family member that you haven't talked to in a while (or calling that cute special someone you met the other day) could seriously take your mind off "Take another little piece of my heart, now darlin'." If conversation dulls, you can always share your problem with the other person, who may be able to give you a new song to think about.
  5. Listen to any other song
    The surest fire way to get "Take another little piece of my heart, now darling" out of your head is to put "I've got a brand new pair of rollerskates, you've got a brand new key" into your head. Of course, then you'll just be back where you started, trying to get a new song out of your head.
  6. Accept your fate
    Sometimes it's important to just accept your fate and move on. Maybe Janis is trying to speak to you from the grave. Maybe you don't need a new pair of rollerskates or a new key. Maybe you just need to be reminded that "You know you've got it, if it makes you feel good."

What You Need

  • A glass of water (or whiskey if it's a Townes Van Zandt tune)
  • The song itself
  • A television set, computer, book, or musical instrument
  • A telephone
  • Some other song

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