Opinion | Biff America: If you think you might be crazy, you’re probably not
It was a moronic melody stuck in my brain.
“Picking up poop with a dude named Duke.”
I could not get that refrain out of my head. It has been suggested that if you are savvy enough to think you might be crazy, you are not. That’s a catch-22. The catch-22 assertion was made famous in Joseph Heller’s novel by the same name. The book depicts WWII pilots attempting to get out of flying dangerous missions by claiming they were psychologically unfit. The military’s contention was, if the pilots were sane enough to realize they were unfit, then that would suggest that they were fine.
I have to say, I find solace in that because sometimes I question my own lucidity — a fact I think means I’m OK.
But I do believe I might be a little obsessive-compulsive.
Case in point. Sometimes I get a song, jingle or poem stuck in my head for hours (even days). If I am at a place where I can’t repeat it out loud, I get very uncomfortable.
That was the case when I was picking up poop with a dude named Duke.
There was a song by the band Lobo that began with the lyrics, “Me and you and a dog named Boo, traveling and living off the land.”
The song, though catchy, was fairly lame, but a few days ago, it was stuck in my head like a burr on a sweater. Being unable to vocalize it was like having an itch that I was unable to reach.
I recently participated in an event called “Doody Free Breck.” The impetus was the fact that many of our trails and trailheads were disgustedly soiled by months of dog waste that was revealed with the melting snow. Town employees, public officials and private residents met one afternoon, dispersed to several fragrant locations and picked up well over 200 pounds of dog waste.
We all paired up (misery loves company), and my partner was a guy named Duke. Duke was younger and fitter (and due to some of my past indiscretions) had a much better sense of smell.
All was well until that song came into my head. “Me and you and a dog named Boo” was immediately changed it to, ‘Picking up poop with a dude named Duke.” I know this is even lamer than the original, but for an hour or more, I could not seem to shake it.
I tried humming and singing it under my breath, but that didn’t seem to scratch the earworm itch. It is understandable that I was embarrassed to belt it out in front of all assembled andalso wasn’t sure how Duke would feel about being immortalized in my poop song. So, though the tune was bouncing around in my head, I kept it to myself.
While I was gathering waste and worrying about my sanity, I could not help but wonder if the animals we were cleaning up after were cursed with similar mental maladies as their (so called) masters. I think humans are often encumbered by our own self-awareness. Some health experts suggest it is unhealthy to resist your natural urges (though others maintain you should do some before you leave home).
What I do know is I got a tremendous sense of satisfaction by taking a couple of hours from my not-so-busy week to make our community a little more sanitized.
Once I finally got those stupid lyrics out of my head, it was rewarding to get the group together, revel in the results, weigh our bounty and take photos. But I have to say it wasn’t long before the reality of what I had been doing for the past two hours awakened my germaphobe compulsion.
All I could think about during the après bag-weighing and high fives was where my hands had been and hurrying home to clean up.
The good news was the former incessant lyrics were gone. Unfortunately they were replaced with, “If you’re happy and you know it, wash your hands.”
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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