Whiskey River, Break My Mind

For the past thirteen hours, I’ve had Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River” stuck in my head. And I’m not talking about a song that you end up humming every half hour or so, I’m talking about a single line that comes out of my mouth every time I stop talking, listening, or thinking. Every thirty seconds for thirteen hours. That means I’ve sung Whiskey River take my mind approximately one thousand five hundred sixty times.

 Don’t get me wrong–I love Willie Nelson, and “Whiskey River” is one of my favorite songs of his. I also know why it’s there: this morning while I was sitting on my friend’s porch, trying to bribe my hangover into submission with a vat of black coffee, his roommate turned on the radio, and Willie belted out “Whiskey River,” and even with a headache (partially attributable to whiskey) that felt like I had midgets repeatedly punching me in the eyes, I enjoyed the hell out of the song.

Until about the thirtieth time that I heard myself sing, Whiskey River take my mind…

I made the mistake, of course, of telling the friends I was hanging out with this afternoon and evening that I had an internal form of auditory torture going on–and I made the even bigger mistake of telling them what song it was. Not that I could have hidden it for long–every time there was a silence, awkward or comfortable, I filled it. I hummed. I don’t hum, particularly not when I’m hung over, but I hummed all goddamned day. Like a lovesick little girl with a complete inability to recall more than five words of the lyrics. I hummed, I whistled, and I sang. The same five notes. Over and over and over again.

Then on the car ride back from Menemsha, where we’d gone to listen to some live bluegrass music on the dock (which did nothing to tear me away from Whiskey River), They Might Be Giants’ “Birdhouse In Your Soul” came on the radio… and that got stuck in my head. It’s a much more amenable song to be stuck with, seeing as I know all the words to “Birdhouse,” and can keep the hum going for longer than five notes.

 But then I opened my big fat mouth and told my friend that the voices in my head had changed their tune, to which he replied, “Well, at least it’s not ‘Whiskey River.'” A few minutes went by, then between bites of my dinner, I spontaneously busted out in song again, loud enough for only me to hear: Whiskey River take my mind…

“You’re an asshole!” I said to my friend. Of course, a few minutes had passed, and everyone at the table thought that perhaps I had Tourette’s. There was an awkward silence… and then I filled it.

“You’re right,” my friend said. “I am an asshole.”

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~ by saltgirlspeaks on 18 June, 2007.

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