Singin’in the Brain by Devon Miller-Duggan

Singin’in the Brain

My mother says that she could always tell when I was happy when I was little because I sang. I do remember being enthralled by songs on the radio very early on. For what seems like ages (though it couldn’t have been, thinking back carefully) I wanted desperately for my name to be Tammy because of the hit song from the 1957 movie “Tammy and the Bachelor.” I’d have been 3. I thought that song was the prettiest thing I’d ever heard. I thought that name was much prettier than mine.

Anyway, for ages I tried to convince myself that whatever song I caught myself humming was significant—a kind of waking dream language that I could somehow parse for clues to my psyche’s well-being. I’ve given up on that. Here’s what convinced me that there’s no message in the songs in my head: the theme song
from the TV series “Daniel Boone” (1964-70). I don’t think it has anything in particular to do with my having a huge crush on Boone’s Indian friend with the English Accent, Mingo (played by Broadway actor Ed Ames for the 1st 4 years of the show’s run). I don’t have any idea why the theme song has stuck in my head
so firmly. Heaven knows there are all sorts of things I wish would stick in my head that don’t. But I got up this morning humming to myself “Daniel Boone was a man, yes a biiiiig man…and he fought for America to make all Americans freeeeeeee…what a boon, what a doer, what a dream-comin’-truer was heeeeeee…”
Really? I remember that? Good grief. And I can’t remember the words to my favorite hymns? Not fair.

I have, of course, all sorts of pop songs from the 60s and 70s stuck in my head, not to mention all sorts of ad jingles (“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!”) and theme songs from shows I didn’t even very much like (The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, I Love Lucy—okay, I was a weird kid). But the words to “Be Thou My Vision” or “Come My Way, My Truth, My Life,” not so much. Cole Porter or Stan Rogers songs? Goodness no. Memory’s a funny thing. And irritating.

I find myself humming Christmas songs in August sometimes, and slightly off-color pop songs while I’m in church arranging flowers. Protest songs while I’m in line at the DMV (well, that one might actually make sense…). Bits of Handel or Purcell in the grocery store. It all probably does “mean” something, but what it means is probably that my brain is more of a dustball rolling down the hill, collecting odd bits it runs over but never stopping long enough to intentionally collect anything than a carefully curated collection of worthwhile objects and documents.

I fear I can probably only partially blame it on the ADD.

And now I have “There she was, just-a walkin’ down the street, singin’ Do-Wah, Diddy, Diddy-dum, Diddy-doo…” stuck. I guess it’s an improvement over the Daniel Boone song…

It’s probably a good thing that I believe none of this means anything.

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