Oh no.

Every now and then we feel an urge to whistle. Whether in the shower, inside an elevator, in a library, or at an important academic talk, humankind’s need to whistle transcends silly etiquette. When you have a song trapped in your head, you must whistle the shit out of it.

Since the summer, I’ve had a song stuck in my head. Actually, let me rephrase that: I had a random 5 second loop (you’d usually hear it at the beginning of the song) trapped inside my noggin and I couldn’t identify it. Now take that bit and imagine me whistling it over and over again while writing my papers in the library. I had to admit that these were the single most addicting rhythms I had heard in awhile, though I couldn’t remember when I had heard them.

So this went on for the entire semester. I’d grab some food whistling “dunnn dunn dunn dunn dun dundadun” over and over again. Then the same when I was checking out my books. Then once again when I was in the shower. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore - I had to figure out what that damn song was.

My first idea was to check out a “tap-the-song-and-identify-it” website, which forced me to tap out the rhythm of the song in the library (which made me look like a genuine moron). My top results were:

1. O Christmas Tree

2. It Had To Be You - Henry Connick, Jr.

3. I Get a Kick Out of You - Ethel Merman

Though my instincts told me that none of these had the poppy-vibe that I’d expect with the song trapped in my head, I checked them one-by-one. No luck.

Reeling from defeat, I did what any sensible man in my situation would do. You see, everyone has that Emergency Plan B when it comes to things like this. This was a life-or-death situation - if I didn’t figure out what the song was, my head would probably explode. And then somebody would have to clean that shit up.

My Emergency Plan B was to ask the woman who swipes our cards in the dining hall what the damn song was.

So, walking in for dinner, I handed her my card and asked her the poignant question.

Me: Do you know what this song is? It goes “dunnn dunn dunn dunn dun dundadun”.

Card Lady: Eh? Can you do that again?

Me: "dunnn dunn dunn dunn dun dundadun".

She had me do this for a couple minutes, almost as if she was enjoying it. Since it was a catchy tune, I subconciously began to bob my head while moving my hand up and down in midair. I looked like a fool.

Then she answered: That’s that one Justin Timberlake song - the Lovestoned one.

My reaction was a mix of shock and horror. No amount of Cheez-Doodles-and-sushi binge eating could save me from the realization that I had betrayed my raised-in-the-streets origins by whistling Justin Timberlake for the past three months. Nobody at home would take me seriously anymore. I imagined myself on a tv talk show with my future kids, apologizing for all the mistakes I had done as a graduate student: This was mistake Numero Uno.

I was forced to turn to my Emergency Plan C. Download the song, listen to it as much as possible, get sick of it, and purge it from my brain forever.

So I spent three weeks listening to that song at full blast, risking my hearing in the process. Along the way, I got the swine flu, ate a whole turkey, became a kung fu master, and single-handedly won the War on Terror. After week three, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was sick of Justin Timberlake and his lovestoned escapades. Finally, I was done with that damn song.

Two days later, I got a new song to whistle in the library. Only it’s impossible to properly whistle, so it just sounds crazy stupid. The only way to transliterate it is as “dundada dundada dundada dundada” going up and down etc etc.

It’s “My Love” by … Justin Timberlake.