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The Adam Lambert ear worm - Denese Rodgers

I admit it, I am hopelessly hooked on this season of "American Idol."

All of the artists have been exceptionally talented, and seem to have provoked much less drama, and haven't been as preoccupied with headline grabbing.

The addiction was totally solidified by Adam Lambert's breathtaking rendition of the song, "Mad World." For a kid who was a hootenanny nobody three months ago, he has torn through You Tube and FaceBook like he is crack for your ears.

I am humbled by that kind of talent, because it must be a combination of a gift and a burden to be that incredibly gifted.

Now, my problem is that I cannot get that dang song out of my head. I have hummed it in the shower, sang it in the car, and I find myself tapping it out with my nails when I'm absentminded.

I thought it would help if I went out to You Tube and played it a couple of times. Instead, I found the original Tears for Fears version that I had to hear. Then, I found a stunning interpretive dance version done by Michael Andrews. "All around me are familiar faces, worn out places ..."

Now, the song runs on a constant loop through my brain, almost like cranial Muzak.

I found out why. It is called an ear worm. I found a web site, "HowStuffWorks," that explains ear worms: "Experts say the culprits are earworms ... they are parasitic in the sense that they get lodged in your head and cause a sort of 'cognitive itch' or 'brain itch.'"

More from HowStuffWorks: "When we listen to a song, it triggers a part of the brain called the auditory cortex. Researchers at Dartmouth University found that when they played part of a familiar song to research subjects, the participants' auditory cortex automatically filled in the rest -- in other words, their brains kept 'singing' long after the song had ended [source: Prokhorov].

"The only way to 'scratch' brain itch is to repeat the song over and over in your mind. Unfortunately, like with mosquito bites, the more you scratch, the more you itch, and so on, until you're stuck in an unending song cycle."

And it is strange how I have almost a repertoire of songs like this : Carly Simon's "You're So Vain;" Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown."

What is rather peculiar is that these are not songs that I listen to on a daily basis. Come to think of it, I can't recall ever really paying attention to "Mad World" when it was first released by Tears for Fears.

Go figure.

The ear worm article went on to say that women are more prone to this brain itch than men, and that the concept has a couple of different names, "repetunitis," and "melodymania."

As for how to get that tune out of your noggin'? There were about a half dozen suggestions (i.e. like listening to another song, duh?).

My favorite was to picture the ear worm as a live thing crawling out of your ear, and to imagine stomping on it. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.