At the start of the year I wrote a few pieces about Earworms, and even created a Category for them because it looked they would be crop up at least once a month. Since the summer there have been fewer tunes occupying my mind, unprompted, and their place seems to have taken by jokes. Back in June, in this piece, I reflected that there seems to be a link between people’s ability to tell jokes and their ability to remember the lyrics to songs.
A man decides to become a Trappist monk, which involves (as I’m sure you know) taking a vow of silence. While being interviewed by the abbot he expresses his concerns about whether he will be able to keep the vow of silence for the rest of his life. The abbot reassures him.
“It’s not exactly for the rest of your life. Every ten years you have the opportunity to exchange some words with me, or my successor as abbot.”
“Every ten years?” he says, “That’s not so bad.”
Ten years go by.
The abbot asks him, “Do you have any words for me my son?”
“Yes. I don’t like the food here.”
The abbot gives him a blessing and sends him on his way.
Another ten years go by.
The abbot asks once again, “Do you have any words for me my son?”
“Yes. My bed’s too lumpy.”
The abbot again gives him a blessing and sends him on his way.
A further ten years go by.
The abbot asks, for a third time, “Do you have any words for me my son?”
“Yes. I want to leave the monastery.”
The abbot replies, “Well I’m not surprised. You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here.”