Album cover for “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” the soundtrack for the Marvel hit “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The first song listed on the album, Blue Swede’s famous 1974 cover of Mark James’ “Hooked on a Feeling,” repeats the phrase, “ooga ooga ooga chacka,” throughout the first portion of the song. PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Onion Bagel is a satirical column for The Statesman.

The introduction to Blue Swede’s famous 1974 cover of Mark James’ “Hooked on a Feeling” contains the nonsense phrase “ooga ooga ooga chacka,” which is repeated through the first portion of the song. An individual cycle of three “oogas” and one “chacka” takes approximately two and one-tenth seconds to play through. That means this hour-long loop of the song’s intro, collated by YouTuber Jake Csw, contains roughly 1,714 “ooga ooga ooga chacka” cycles over its 3,600-second runtime; 5,142 “oogas” and 1,714 “chackas.”

I listened to every single one of them to bring you this recounting of my experience.

Just like Marlow’s trek through the Congo, this seemingly-simple journey would ultimately wind its way through the darkest depths of human existence. The wide-eyed reviewer who first pressed play is not the same man who came out on the other side.


If only I had known.

Chapter 1: Oh, so naive (0:00-5:00)

The first 142.8 “ooga ooga ooga chackas” were a mostly pleasant experience. My endeavour was fresh and exciting and those first hundred or so cycles felt like a mantra. The quest was something spiritual and I was lucky to be the one walking that path.

I quickly made some exciting discoveries, noting the presence of a distinctive, masculine “hoo, hoo, hoo” underlying the primary melody. I jotted down some points in my notes, taking care to determine that the “ooga ooga ooga chacka” that is so widely known sounds like the work of either three of four men chanting in unison. The depth of the harmony is something to behold.


I became cocky, revelling in the absurdity of my task.

“Ooga ooga ooga chacka,” the chorus of cavemen said.

“Ha,” I responded, exalting my composure.

I could almost hear Björn Skifs’ verse beckoning in the background …

Chapter 2: Oh dear … (5:00-20:00)


… But it didn’t come, and it would never come.

That first wave of excitement quickly turned to horror as I realized this Grecian chorus would toil toward a resolution they would never reach, like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the hills of Tartarus.

That underlying “hoo, hoo, hoo” began to pervert the main melody. Those words that had no meaning at the onset actually began to blend and take the form of actual speech, mainly the word “hookah.”

“Hookah hookah hookah chacka,” I heard as my mind started to wander.

When was the last time I had tried hookah? It was probably a few years back at this point, but could it have been high school? I remember reading about how bad regular hookah use could be for a person’s health — was I suffering some unknown consequences? Did I have cancer?

From one half-heard word came a thousand tendrils of hypochondria that wormed their way into my psyche. It took incredible mental discipline to ward them all off, but eventually I pushed through by focusing on the task at hand.


I checked the clock.

Oh God. It’s only been 10 minutes …

Chapter 3: The Heart of Darkness (20:00-40:00)

I wonder if the men in Blue Suede who bellowed these “ooga ooga ooga chackas” into lonely microphones in a recording booth could have ever anticipated that one day a 22-year-old sometimes journalist would follow their chanting through the gates of Hell.

That’s what this was: Hell. Not the ironic, torturous Hell of Dante and a million overzealous priests, but a more subtle Hell. This was the Hell of Sartre, where the damned torment each other through simple interactions stretched across eternity. Sartre was right — Hell is other people.

Perhaps this is why man is meant to die. Should we ever win the fight against our own rotting cells and unlock the mysteries of eternal life, it might be that we go mad in the presence of one another. Even if you could wall yourself off in a spaceship and shoot yourself across the galaxy, surely the time would come when another would bridge the divide to greet you. Surely they would bring more and more, until eventually the whole of space was shot through with this species Agent Smith so insightfully likened to a virus.

I release a mad cackle, somewhere near the thousandth “chacka,” upon making this discovery. A laugh like Walter White, huddled in the crawlspace of his New Mexico ranch, realizing Ted’s cooked books swallowed up all his profits.


There’s nothing left to do but give in …

Chapter 4: Ooga ooga ooga chacka (40:00-1:00:00)

Ooga ooga ooga chacka.

I can smell colors.

Ooga ooga ooga chacka.

I can hear fear.

Ooga ooga ooga chacka.

Ooga ooga ooga chacka.

Ooga ooga ooga chacka.

Ooga ooga ooga chacka …

Chapter 5: Acceptance (1:00:00-Death)

From ash we came, and to ash we shall return, along with all the cities of men and all our achievements, great and small.


But even if all the works of our species doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, we can still choose to make a positive impact in our brief time upon this Earth. A kind word given or a mountain climbed may not carry grand significance, but we can still give them meaning if we enjoy them in the process.


Have a goo-ga-ooga-ooga-chacka-d April Fools everyone.


Mike Adams is the Opinions Editor for The Statesman. Mike has written and edited for several desks since transferring from SCCC in 2017. He is also a staff writer for The Smithtown News.


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