Shaken, Not Stirred: Music-n-stuff

December 4, 2016
Jim Bond

Jim Bond

Shaken, Not Stirred: Music-n-stuff


A blog by Jim Bond.

Sponsored by Pro-Master Carpet Cleaning, 231-757-9061,

A Facebook message from my neighbor a few weeks ago.

“Been meaning to tell you that Tom told me yesterday that he had a dream that you kept coming into our house and turning on classical music then leaving. You came in three times!”

Frankly, except for the “breaking and entering” part, the message was not out of the realm of possibility.

This column is really a footnote to last week’s column about ‘cross-talking’; it’s about “music-blasting”.

The practice seems to have died down to an extent, but for awhile society was plagued by drivers whose car stereos were cranked up to ear-splitting and windshield cracking volumes. Pulling up to a light, these ‘music-loving’ drivers would subject others to their over-wattage; their excessively loud, bass speaker exploding volumes with music that, shall we say, was not my style.

It was usually a rusted car worth a few hundred dollars, with a several thousand dollar sound system in the trunk that would fracture the asphalt the car was sitting on. The practice was prevalent enough that I would daydream (with a severe scowl on my face) about inventing a ‘clicker’ that would automatically convert the music thumping out of the window to a Mozart symphony. Now THAT would get the volume down in a hurry.

Can you just imagine the expression the perpetrator’s face?

Fortunately, I have neither the patience nor the electronic prowess to come up with such a device. Ask my grown children. My 23-year-old still laughs about the time I called him to help me connect my 7-year-old’s game to the TV set. After that embarrassing call, my youngest son learned to do it himself.

(By the way, the same 23-year-old took it upon himself to come into the house a couple of years ago when I was out of town and label each of my three TV remotes, so I wouldn’t get confused as to which controlled volume, DVD/video, or channel selector. This was his message that he would guide me to my ultimate journey through confusion.)

This was preceded by the era of the boom box. You remember those; you could determine whether a person was right-handed or left-handed, predicated upon which shoulder this electronic wonder was perched. It was frequently accompanied by dancing while strolling down the street…or at least the walker was stepping in cadence with the music. Much like a platoon marching to the beat of a military marching band.

The advent of ear buds attached to smaller portable devices has brought a share of confusion to me…I can no longer determine if a song is in 3/4 or 4/4 time, since the music is silent and I can only watch the footsteps, ‘creeping in their petty paces, from day-to-day’.

Now we can also enjoy relative silence in the cubicle office environs, thanks, once again to ear buds plugged into the computer. This allows relative anonymity regarding one’s musical tastes. Or, absence thereof.

But that also creates a problem in an open office environment where a relative amount of open conversation is required. You must check whether one of the people integral to the conversation is ‘plugged in’.

I work in such an open environment. And as satisfying as it is most of the time, it can be very frustrating for me personally.

You see, two decades in radio, conducting radio talk shows has led me to a typical problem; ‘Announcer’s Ear’. Years of talking with a ‘headset’, referred to in the trade as ‘cans’, has led many of us to hearing issues. The isolated and concentrated sounds leads to damage to the eardrum. And yes, I suffer from that.

Therefore, I have a sign on the back of my computer at work which reads:

I’m old

I’m deaf

I’m cranky


On the printed sign is also a picture of Jeff Dunham’s character ‘Walter’, a favorite of mine. Another favorite is Squidward in SpongeBob. I relate to both of them.

But you already knew that.

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