The most serious case happened several years ago after watching an episode of “The Sarah Silverman Show” where a character is obsessed with the Spin Doctors’ song “Two Princes“. Somehow a curse was passed on to me and my roommates as we began encountering “Two Princes” everywhere: on the radio in our cars, shopping malls, restaurants, and even that bro who sang it at Sardo’s karaoke bar. Not too badly, either.
Whenever I heard those first poppy snare drum rolls and crunched early 90s chords, I would look about as if a mad man. Am I the only one who is HEARING THIS?
Good news: I wasn’t. But I was the only one who thought it meant anything. Most people sanely figured it was one of those ditties they are going to hear from time to time throughout their lives. The “Two Princes” still follow me as they follow you; however, I listen to them as an Amityville survivor may encounter a ghost and say, “I see you, but I know you’re not real.”
It happened before with the word “colon” and more recently with “mohawk.” Whenever I get a new car, I feel great about how my purchase reflects me and my unique personality… until I spot every single car on the road that looks exactly like mine. These seemingly reoccurring events have been given a name, “The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.” If you read it hard enough, you’ll probably see the term pop up again in the next 72 hours.
While it was tempting to attribute the universe with trying to tell me something via the Spin Doctors, it’s far more likely I became attuned to a ridiculous pop single ingrained in the public consciousness. “Colon” and “mohawk” are great words that are plainly not used enough. And the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? Obviously it’s named after the two coldly rational Austrian social scientists who coined the term. Nope, it got its name from some dude on the internet who heard about a German terrorist group twice in one day. Baader-Meinhof was Baader-Meinhofed into existence. It’s like a Star Trek movie where they go back in time and tell the guys who invented Warp Speed how to invent Warp Speed.
Currently, you’re taking part in my own Baader-Meinhof experience. I’ve been cued into the world of writers lately: their habits, their lives, their work. For Christmas I received a stack of books and a picture of Charles Bukowski. Nothing too out of the ordinary, really. Yet, I sensed some kind of intrinsic value in these things. And suddenly I realized that I fantasized myself a writer as well. The only difference between myself and these other writers was that, well, they wrote. Oh, and that whole quality-of-work thing too. Hopefully with more of the former, I can improve the latter.
If nothing else, it’s far more productive than YEEEAAAAHHHHH DA-BA-DO! DA-BA DO BA DO DA BA DIBA DIBA DOOBA DOOBA DOOBA.