Elmo is hell-bent on corrupting my Spotify algorithm. Sharing my music streaming account with my toddler means that “Brush Your Teeth” by Doc McStuffins was named my favorite song of 2021. While all evidence points to the contrary, “Brush Your Teeth” is most certainly not my favorite song, not by a long shot.
Lately, my tiny boss has been insisting that Best of Sesame Street be the soundtrack to every car trip instead of Mommy’s music. Can’t we compromise and listen to Coldplay? How about “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd? I’m easily responsible for half of that song’s 2.8 billion listens on Spotify. Nope! my tiny boss says. Those are boring!
The problem is that my daughter’s songs are earworms. For this very reason, I’ve never permitted her to listen to “Baby Shark.” That song is irrevocably banned in our house. (True story: outside Port Authority bus station in NYC, “Baby Shark” was blasted on repeat over speakers to discourage homeless encampments from forming under scaffolding.)
During moments of mild peril, like a near car crash or while awaiting test results in the recovery room at an outpatient surgery center, I have had Elmo’s high-pitched voice singing away in my head (“La-la, la-la, Elmo’s song….la-la, la-la, Elmo’s song….”). It’s a peculiar kind of torture. The absurdity of these children’s songs stuck on repeat inside my head robs me of my dignity.
I fear that when death comes for me, instead of my life flashing before my eyes or me gazing in wonder at a peaceful white light, Elmo’s voice will be the last one I hear. Leave me be, Elmo! Let me panic normally in moments of peril, let me go silently into the light when it’s my time. More pressingly, let my Spotify algorithm be restored!