There’s Static in my Inner Monologue

April 18, 2007

It’s as if she can’t stand to be without sound. There’s a constant humming about her. It’s little fragments of songs, familiar syllables, the occasional bilabial fricative thrown in for punctuation. I’ve considered buying her a harmonica.

We live with mental noises of our very own. How can we really be sure that the language we speak, that we think comes from our mouths, is really what is heard by those that we converse with? There’s got to be a disconnect. Otherwise, how can we speak so perfectly clearly and certainly and be so totally misunderstood by others?

I’d never heard the phrase “inner monologue” until recently. It’s very descriptive. We’re all aware of our “stream of consciousness.” It’s meaningful to us most of the time, if not necessarily to others. James Joyce demonstrated that in Ulysses, a major literary work that is almost totally inaccessible to his readers.

My hypothesis is that some of the craziness we encounter from day to day comes from too much disruption of our inner monologue. We have become addicted to noise.

Take for example, my soon to be retired 65 year old college intern, Joe (See My College Intern). Joe is addicted to Republican Radio. It squawks all day in the back of the printshop. Worse yet, the addiction has rubbed off on Todd, who used to work in the back with Joe, but has moved into the design office along with another radio. The effect of Republican radio is similar to that of the super amplified bass speakers installed in many automobiles in West Macon. The excessive volume both dislodges nuts and bolts from the motor vehicle and turns the driver’s brain into pudding. Neurons no longer connect. The electrical charges fire aimlessly around the cranium. Sparks may fly from the earlobes, but the cognitive stream is permanently disrupted. The result is craziness.

Taking the example of Republican Radio a little further, the craziness becomes evident as the listeners actually begin to believe some of the propaganda. Worse yet, they start to think that it is important. The symptomatic effect of the amplified bass speakers seems less severe. The vehicles develop very strange looking wheels and occasionally an odd paint job. The drivers go deaf.

What has happened to silence? The humming woman I know seems fearful of it. She fills every second with noise of her own. People need time to filter out the static. Silence is where we find peace, a connection to God, a time for our synapses to reset, a return to a sensible, thoughtful and moderate way of passing through life.

Shhhhh . . . .

Wedding Dreams (or Bridal BĂȘte Noir)

April 5, 2007

It’s April. The weddings are in June. It’s time for the invitations to go out. The brides head for the printshop. Somehow they think that their invitations will come from there. I have news for them . . . we’re not part of their wedding dreams.

The books were large. They were part of the stuff that came with the franchise oh so many years ago. Someone in a tall ivory tower with only one very small window must have thought that it was a good idea. As a novice printshop owner, I didn’t know any different. The big books were put on display right out in front, near a small round table where the prospective bride (and her mom) could look at them.

There must have been at least a few exclamations of “Oh! you have wedding books!” to warn me before the first bride came in. I sat with her for about 3/4 hour, essentially answering the same questions over and over, before I had the good sense to let her take the monstrous book home to discuss with her mother. She then came back the next day to ask my opinion.

“Which do you think is more fashionable? The embossed invitation with the gold foil envelopes or this lovely lace border with the little pink bouquet? And do you think we should buy the napkins to match?”

That was just way beyond me. I have as much interest in wedding napkins as I have in Feng Shui. In fact, I think I have more interest in Feng Shui because it’s kind of fun to say. Feng Shui! I turned the whole process over to beautiful wife, who quickly decided that she was only going to work in the printshop one day per week and that she wasn’t going to tell me which day that would be.

The same bride and her mom came back repeatedly over the next couple of years. I became convinced that aliens had taken over their bodies, because they never looked the same and they used aliases each time they came through the door. But they were the same bride and mom. I know it for certain.

It was deja vu all over again until the day that a Party City store opened up in a new shopping center down the road. The alien bride and mom came through the door, oohed and sighed over the big invitation book, didn’t make up their mind and walked out the door with the 150 lb. wedding compendium in hand. When they came back the next day, though, they didn’t ask my opinion about the monogrammed swizzle sticks. Instead, they told me that Party City had the same book and that all of the invitations would be 30% off of the book price.

I kissed them both, trying to ignore the greenish alien scales that were showing through their possessed bodies. When they left, I praised God for his goodness and threw the massive books into the dumpster behind the shop.

We still get the requests. A lot of times they begin with the phrase, “I want to do something really special . . .” What that means is “I want you to do something really impossible that will tie up your entire staff for nine hours producing 75 of these things, then you’ll have to do it all over again because I’ll want to invite some more people to the wedding and I’ll need more.” Machine operators don’t tie bows with little fragments of pink ribbon. Their thumbs are too big. I found that out the hard way.

And we still do an occasional invitation, usually for someone we really like, who is really reasonable, who is not possessed by creatures from another planet, and who knows what they want. We run the rest of the aliens out of the shop with a hearty Feng Shui! and send them off to Party City.