I’m about to give you at least one earworm for the day…be forewarned…
I spent last Saturday volunteering at the Leadville Trail 100 Running Race. In past years, I’ve worked at the turn around point of the run, Winfield ghost town. The job task this year, along with fellow mountain bike racer Scott Ellis, was to stop each and every car going up the dirt road to Winfield and hand them an instructional flyer. The flyer gave running crew teams information about parking and it gave people out for a drive, heading for a camp site or a local trailhead information about the running event.
I don’t know what it was that prompted me (Boredom? Road dust? The sun and heat?) to sing a piece of an old childhood song I recalled:
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out…
That one line was about all I could recall. Then Scott said, “Oh there’s a lot more to the song and my mom used to sing it.” He broke into a version similar to:
Do you ever think as a hearse goes by,
that you may be the next to die?
They wrap you up in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet.
They put you in a big black box,
And cover you up with dirt and rocks.
All goes well for about a week,
Then your coffin begins to leak.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A big green worm with rolling eyes,
Crawls in your stomach and out your eyes.
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus pours out like whipping cream.
You spread it on a slice of bread,
And that's what you eat when you are dead.
Oh my gosh! Your mom sang this to you? What other childhood songs did she sing?
Great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat
Dirty little birdie feet…
After I quit laughing and groaning at all of the lyrics, I asked “Why would your mom sing songs like that?!”
It turns out that Scott’s mom was singing common kid’s camp songs to him and his siblings. I had heard portions of the songs in the past, but I didn’t know that there were so many lines to each song. After some research, I found that the songs are classics and there are multiple versions of both (warning, this link has music) The Hearse Song and Great Green Globs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts.
I’ll try to convince Scott to document his mom’s versions because I think they are good and different than what I’ve found online.
These songs are sticky. Once you hear them or sing them once, they get stuck in your ears and in your head. They are earworms…you’ll find yourself humming the tunes all day.
I think the cure is to sing a few lines to your office mates, friends or family and get them to sing a few lines. The best gift to yourself is to give an earworm away.
**Warning: Earworms have been known to infest a road trip and other such situations. Knowingly starting an earworm situation could get you ejected from the car.