Pining for Something Sweet—Minus the Earworm

6 May

Yesterday, I found myself in Salem, Va., waking along a busy highway called Electric Road. Thanks to ADD, my brain needed only to see one street sign before dredging an oldie but a goodie from the depths of my internal stockpile of washed up hits. I started chanting the first line of an Eddy Grant hit from the early 80s. . . we’re talking from way back, like when MTV played music. You know the same line that I do, I’ll bet:

electricRd2“De dudum rock it, pum pum, Electric Avenue, and then we’ll take it higher!”

Those are all the words I know. And now it’s in your head, too, you’re welcome very much.

So, back to my story. I’d originally intended to walk just around the corner from my hotel, to that coffee shop I noticed nearby on one of my recent trips. No, not one of those high falutin’ Seattle-based coffee shops that make me feel inept as both a customer and decision-maker. I’m talking about the blue-collar shop, the one American runs on, the one found on every New England intersection that is not occupied by a Cumbuhlin’ Fahms. The one that USED to make a syrupy sweet drink called a Coffee Coolatta™.

“It’s just around the corner,” I said to myself. “A walk would do you good.”

Of course, that was just around the driving corner. I wound up trekking more than a mile before I spotted the familiar brown and orange logo. Nobody should ever have to travel that long with an 80s-era earworm lodged in their brain, particularly one to which they’ve retained so few lyrics.  By the time I crossed the store’s threshold, I’d repeated the phrase at least 400 times: “De dudum rock it, pum, pum, Electric Avenue, and then we’ll take it higher!”

Oh, for the love of PETE, help me remember another line!

I asked the apparently bored young man behind the counter for a Coffee Coolatta™ and received a blank stare that nearly made me step back outside to double-check that I wasn’t in the Seattle shop.

“Coolattas™ are fruit flavored,” he said. “Do you want one of those?”

“N-No,” I stammered. “I wanted coffee. Like they make it in New England, you know, a sugary frozen slush?”

“So, a frozen coffee.”

I nodded, unsure. He made me a frozen coffee. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t the same sticky-sweet creamy goodness I remembered. Still, I’d come too far to not enjoy it, so I shrugged and gave him a nod. Yes, I should have just walked away, but remember that I have ADD. I couldn’t resist asking,

“Hey, do people come in here singing Electric Avenue?”

More staring.

“You know, de dudum rock it, pum pum, Electric Avenue . . .”

He pointed at the door. It was more a plea than a command.

I couldn’t NOT finish. “. . . and then we’ll take it higher!” (If you don’t share my earworm by now, I’m clearly not doing it right.)

I de-dudum-rocked it back to the hotel, sipping my coffee-flavored ice throughout another 400 mental repetitions of the now-detestable ditty. Naturally, as soon as I settled into my room and logged onto the world wide web, I typed “Electric Avenue” into a search engine so I could learn the next line. Alas, I learned more than I wanted to. It’s a rather depressing song about 1981 rioting in the UK. On reflection, my brain likely forgot the words on purpose. I should trust my subconscious instincts more often.

So, what have I learned from this experience?

Firstly, Salem, Va. has way fewer intersections than Massachusetts, and even fewer embellished with the standard coffee establishments to which I’ve become accustomed. Translation: next time, drive around the corner.

Secondly, after additional research, I’ve learned the Coffee Coolatta™ has been off the menu since 2017 (which says something about both my craving frequency and the speed of light at which my life is flying past). This delicious concoction has apparently fallen victim to the sugar police state. The current Coolatta™ family is now considered “cosmic,” and consists of sugar-flavored fruit pulp that is no better for consumers than the original. Gotta love the way adding fruit makes everything okay though.


Ahhhhhh, life is good again.

Thirdly, although there’s no going back again, apparently, there’s nothing like an ordinary hot coffee to set things right again ( yes, I gave the joint a second chance in the morning).

Finally, rioting aside, Electric Avenue ranks right up there with John Jacob Jinglehimer Schmidt for earworms that just won’t die.

And I’m quite curious. Which one are you humming right now?


If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. — Proverbs 25:16

6 Responses to “Pining for Something Sweet—Minus the Earworm”

  1. Ed Speare May 6, 2019 at 9:59 pm #

    I have the Eddy Grant Album that includes “Electric Avenue” on vinyl if you would like to borrow it!

  2. Michele Halbeisen May 6, 2019 at 10:34 pm #

    I was thinking of you today. I was in BJ’s and they now have a Dunkin Donuts. I saw the “fruit” coolotta and thought, Gee I have to tell Rose! LOL But now you know already!

    • Portrait Writer May 7, 2019 at 8:45 am #

      Sorry to say. Seriously pining for the real thing. Might have to look up the recipe, but I might learn even more I don’t want to know.

  3. Allyn Bamberger May 7, 2019 at 10:40 am #

    Electric Ave. was not during a time that I was paying attention to that kind of music, so I avoided the earworm, but I can tell you that Chik Fil e, of all places, has a creamy, sweet, icy coffee drink that is quite amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: