The Catchiest Post You’ll Ever Read

by Katy McCaffrey on November 29, 2012


Very often, around mealtimes, or clothes-picking times, or any culling from a large group to a small group of something-times, I will have to ask my daughter over and over again what she wants.  “Do you want meatballs?  Carrots? Udon Noodles?  Quail? Hello?  Can you hear me?”  Eventually she’ll remember a person is talking to her and she’ll respond with “I’ll tell you what I want.”  At which point, regardless of how long I’ve been waiting for her answer, I will cut her off and launch into my spiciest “Sooo, tell me what you want, what you really really want.  I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.  I wanna HA, I wanna HA I wanna HA, I wanna really, really, really wanna zigzag ah.”

It drives her crazy.  “Ugh Mooom, stop it!  That is so annoying. I can’t hear the TV!”  But what she doesn’t understand is that I have no control over it.  Some machine in the deepest, darkest regions of snowy Ottowa has figured out a precise formula for pop songs and commercial jingles so that they stick in your brain for all time.  The mere mention of “baby back” – as in “would you hand me the baby back?” or “Have you heard from CPS? When do you get your baby back?” Or even “make sure you put lotion on the baby’s back” – and I will immediately have to sing “I want my baby back baby back baby back.  I want my baby back baby back baby back.  I want my…”  And at this point I hope that someone around me will chime in with the accompanying falsetto “Chiliiiiiis Baby Back Ribs,” but if not I’ll have to sing both parts.

And once these hypnotic hymns get into your brain they’ll be stuck there for weeks.  Countless mornings I find myself inexplicably humming “The Best Part of Waking Up, Is Folgers in Your Cup.”  Now I’ve never had a cup of Folgers.  I don’t drink coffee so I can’t even attest to the veracity of the statement.  But at nearly every 3:30am feeding, when my son wakes me in the middle of the night, my brain tells me “get out of bed, your son is waking up.” Then, since Folgers paid some voodoo priest to spell that jingle, my subconscious will be helpless to defend against it bubbling up with full orchestra and operatics.  And then it will keep said playing on a low frequency hum for the rest of the day.

The worst offenders are those tunes that transcend one genre and live on every medium you come across.  If I say “I’d like to teach the world to sing” then all of you would have to respond with “in perfect harmony.”  Even if you never owned a TV and watched 1,000 hippies climb a hill and hold hands and then drink a Coke, you would still have to sing that song because it went beyond selling you a deliciously tasty beverage.  It was also a number one pop hit playing in heavy rotation on every radio station from here to Kalamazoo for a solid year.

Of course I forget things all the time.  My phone is lost 3-4 times a day.  My keys spend more time in the doorknob of my front door than they do anywhere else, and I can’t even tell you if I remembered a bra today.  But I know every single word to the Tootsie Roll jingle from 1976 (when I was 2).  Plus I try and incorporate that sentiment into conversations at least once a month.  Like when my husband asks me to pick a turkey from the stack of hundreds of fresh Turkey’s at the store I have to respond with “Everything I think I see looks like a Butterball Turkey to me.”  Or like when I’m on a notes call with a fellow producer and I’m pitching my perspective and realize I’ve said the same thing about 100 times I beg their forgiveness and blame it on everything looking like a tootsie roll to me…as though everyone else in the world will completely understand what I mean.  And in all honesty, I haven’t had anyone question me yet…

Hell, I can’t even listen to Beethoven’s Fur Elise without thinking “…and I will eat my fries myself and not give any to my dumb brother.”

This afternoon at school pick up, my daughter and her friend Lila were having a grand time yelling at the top of their lungs about some b.s. four year old business while Lila’s mother and I were trying to talk.  There is a three week school vacation coming up and we have got to find some institution that will take them during the day, lest we have to do full-time parenting causing one or both of us to become alcoholics.  We could not hear anything the other was saying so her mother simply put her pinkie and thumb in the shape of a phone receiver and yelled over “Just call me!”  ALL STOP.  My daughter experiences a zombie like compulsion to bust out with “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, call me maybe.”  Her little four year old butt was shaking along too “It’s hard to look right at you Baaaaaby, but here’s my number so call me maybe!”  It was her first public solo and it was a bit jarring to witness, but there wasn’t one among us be it other parents, teachers, or school head who didn’t completely understand what had just happened to her.  The Ottowan music machine strikes again!

Here are some more jingle starters.  Just so I can be totally in your head all night:

Give your Breath Long Lasting Freshness….
My Bologna has a first name….
I am stuck on Band-Aid…
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…
Five, Five Dollar…

Think you can do better?

Katy McCaffrey (Contributing Editor, Los Angeles)

Katy is a mother, a wife, and a TV producer, mostly in that order. Once she wrote some sarcastic things next to some pictures a guy took with her stolen iPhone. She was then semi-well known for three days afterwards. If You Must Know is what’s happened to her since then.

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