Monday, April 2, 2012

Using Your Outside Voice

When my older brother and I hit the right age, my dad put us to work.  Not the illegal kind where we had jobs and uniforms or anything like that.  But the perfectly legal, non-paying kind called "yard work."  And we didn't mind most of it.  Mowing was easy, raking was fine, and trimming bushes was fun because we got to use giant scissors.  In fact, I think the only part we hated was cleaning up in the heat.

But the funny part about all this is that my brother was fascinated by the lawnmower.  He didn't so much care about how it did its job.  But he thought it was amazing how loud it was.  The first time he used it, he realized he could hear nothing besides the mower.  And to a kid who was expected to hear his parents whenever they spoke to him, it was a nice release from that expectation.  He was free to ignore the entire world while he mowed.

And one day he realized that he couldn't even hear himself while he was mowing.  I'm not sure if he coughed or sneezed or what, but it dawned on him that he couldn't hear a single thing that came out of his mouth.  And being the curious (and weird) adolescent that he was, he decided to test out the limits of this temporary deafness.  So he started talking, then raising his voice, and then outright screaming.  And with every new level of noise, he was all the more amazed that he could hear none of it.  So he entertained himself by screaming at the top of his lungs while he mowed.

As most of you probably know, the level of deafness experienced when running a lawnmower is directly proportionate to how close you are to the mower.  So someone mowing can hear almost nothing.  But anyone more than 10 feet away can hear just about any other noise.  And what that meant was that every person in the neighborhood could hear my brother screaming random words and sounds out into the air.  And if they went to investigate, they probably just shook their heads and went back to their business.  But my dad was more amused than embarrassed.  So he let it go.  And he told me just to ignore it and not tell my brother.  And it was a few months before my brother learned that everybody within earshot could hear him screaming, "AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I'M MOWING AND NOBODY CAN HEAR ME SCREAM!!!  HA HA HA!!!"  But it sure was fun when he found out.  You could see the horror on his face as he realized that people could hear him.

1 comment:

Jeska Stowell said...

Welcome back. :) We've missed you.

And I could totally imagine my older brother doing the same thing. In fact, he probably did.