I spent about an hour and a half last night with a word stuck in my head, and it’s still going strong.
“Earworm,” or Involuntary Musical Imagery (IMI), is the phrase used to describe a particular phrase of music stuck in your head. Everyone has experienced this phenomenon, and, more than likely, you have a song stuck in your head right now (Mine is my high school jazz band’s version of “Jingle Bell Rock“). Radio Lab, a phenomenal podcast from NPR, has a great piece on Earworms, but none of the current literature addresses non-melodic “earworms” like the one I’m still struggling with.
A cursory Google search yielded next to nothing relevant. One theory suggested that after learning a word I find “qualitatively pleasing,” I would grant it a frequency in my vocabulary disproportionate to its functionality, but that wasn’t really the case. I wasn’t speaking with anyone, nor had I just learned the word. Next (after consulting Google, which we all know is a college student’s primary course of action), I thought about recent occasions upon which I may have read the word. No dice.
Use of the word “aggrandize” over the past centuries. Click for more info!
Perhaps the meaning of the word was somehow related to a situation I was in? “Self-aggrandizing,” in case anyone was wondering, was my earworm. I’d like to think “self-aggrandizing” isn’t a word relevant to my life at the moment, and besides – I was alone in my room struggling to do homework! Hardly an example of “enhanc[ing] the power, wealth, position, or reputation of [myself].” People around me, perhaps? I read about Darius’ ascension to the Persian throne last night, but not until after this virus took hold.
Final theory: I wrote an “About Me” section for Tangents yesterday. Trouble is, I only wrote the first two sentences of my own bio, and it seems like a stretch to call it self-aggrandizement. I’m running out of explanations, and I’m still repeating this word in my head over and over. What to do?
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” – Lewis Carroll
Seems like sound advice to me.