Bristol, England (A country in no way associated with the rest of Europe, for those American readers.) Scientists at Bristol Community College have discovered that singing Happy Birthday that many damn times in a single year can, indeed, lead to some very strange side effects.
The findings have led most people who sang the song while washing their hands during Covid to agree: 'Huh, jeez, we didn't see that comin'?!'
While most who sang it for the correct washing time admitted that they are entirely sick of singing it, many more were willing to concede that they had put in a lack-luster performance of the song during actual birthday singings. "I completely mumble through all happy birthday office and zoom singings now. I used to love that song," told Emily Crudsmear. "Now, I just associate it with horrible suffering and a wretched death. If I never hear it again, it will be too soon."
Still others had it wors. Sheila Armstead, of Leeds, can't stop 'air-washing' her hands whenever she hears the Birthday song now. "All of a sudden, at my granddaughter's 4th birthday, I just started rubbing my hands together in the air. I just could not stop! I was terrified. I don't think it's ever going away." She also reported a similar incident during Coronation Street, only a week later.
The Bristol scientists say that Ms. Armstead isn't alone. "Air-washing will become the new pandemic," foretold Al Flurtberger, lead scientist of the happy birthday study. "It's like hand Turrets syndrome, in a way. Why, even I can feel my hands twitching when I hear that song now. Don't sing it!"
Mr. Flurtberger found that sticking his hands deep in his pockets helps to cure his urges. And we are pretty sure he was still talking about the birthday song.
Still many others reported that if they now hear the song at an office birthday, or on TV, or during appropriate outdoor dining, they immediately have the strong urge to get up and go and wash their hands. "I could barely make it through the entire song before I could feel my feet moving towards the break room sink," warned Kim Schlickey, a receptionist in Norwich. "I'd go completely bonkers if I couldn't wash my hands and I heard that song now. I'll never be the same. Can I get workmen's comp for that, you reckon?""
Our science man, Flurtberger, who we found lingering around the ladies bathroom at the college, had only one known cure. "Most people will probably never be cured. Especially women. Like these ones, here," he assured, pointing at two students. "Others, can only hope and pray that with enough effort, and personal perseverance, this single cure will help solve all of these immense life-damaging side effects of singing Happy Birthday thousands of times in one year. My conclusion, after many millions of dollars spent on this important research, is this: the very advice I'd give my own family if afflicted with such a horrible disease. Here it is. Are you ready? OK. Here you go. Are you sure you're ready? You don't look ready. OK, here are my official research findings, official worldwide release: Pick a flippin' different song to sing, you silly twits! Try Yankee Doodle Dandy or Somewhere Over The Rainbow, or maybe La Cucaracha—anything. Just take a chill pill on The Happy Birthday Song for a bit. i'm outta here..."
Flurtberger then announced his retirement, tucked a twenty in my breast pocket, lit a fancy cigar and left via an expensive speedboat, yelling, "so long, suckers!"
Writer's note: I received my Covid-19 this week and feel fine—other than a strange desire to hang upside down in a dark place... oh well.