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Mr. Sound

I always pushed it a little too far at that age. When you're ten, little sounds will amuse you and I took this to the limit of my parents' patience. It started with trying to puff out my cheeks and speak coherently, but this would extend to mouth noises, tongue clicks, ear pops and chin squeaks. My entire head was a concert hall and I was the conductor, orchestra and audience. The advantage was that at least in the beginning, no one else could hear me and I kept quiet on car rides, while my parents watched the news and ran major errands. Everyone was relatively happy and I was quiet. The disadvantage was that I looked as if someone were shocking me with jolts of electricity, that I was possessed and my hearing, (not very good to begin with) was diminished even further.

I would add to this concerto with an encore; I would cover my ears with both hands and lift them off with a steady rhythm. The effect inside my head was that outside sounds could attain an otherworldy quality and change altogether into a crackling, staccato festival. I could hear my fingers slide in and out of my ears and besides feeling good, I could add that rhythm to the program. I was on fire! This was the best set yet, I would concur. The audience loves it, too, I emphasized, as my head, shoulders, hips, knees and feet got into it, too.

At this point, my brother or sister would notice me and nudge me to quit touching them. It is ironic that we strive and beckon for attention as kids, but the minute our siblings touch us, we holler bloody murder. "Mom, he's touching me!"

"Quit touching your sister, Danny!" I would not hear as they said it, usually without turning around. This was the first warning not heard at all initially, definitely not by Mr. Sound (me) as I continued to pulsate and gyrate to my own internal beat. Invariably a sound would escape and I of course wouldn't notice. Years before personal stereos, I ws not to be disturbed by the outside world!

My brother or sister would hear this sound and assume it was directed at them. They couldn't hear what was inside my head, but they knew a derisive noise when they heard one. "Danny's making rude noises at me!"

"Danny, stop bothering your sister!" Second warning, but then again, I was nearing the third act and who was I to stop when greatness was at hand? I may not have heard them completely, either since I was in stacatto mode anyway, opening and closing my ears and making their own voice part of my music. I probably heard only the barest fraction of their command, which was nonsense but added to the full effect and opened up the third act.

From my brother and sisters point of view, my parents were being ignored. They would take matters into their own hands and begin to nudge me back.

"Quit it!" they'd moan. Oblivious to this, I would continue in my efforts. I had my eyes closed, but because of the thickness of my glasses, no one could see that I was not looking at them or even that my eyes were shut. Since I was not paying any attention, they changed their tactics completely. "Mom! Danny's ignoring me!"

"Danny, this is the last time!" Of course, I never even heard the first time. I was so oblivious in my own world that I never felt the car stop. I did feel someone grasp me by the shoulders, nudging me. I opened my eyes to see my Mom's face fill my vision. She was probably torn between yelling at me to stop whatever I was doing or making sure that I didn't swallow my tongue. I expelled a held breath and calmly asked "What's going on?"

I think the only thing that they could communicate to me in those dire moments was "Don't scare me like that!", despite the fact that we scared each other with some success. I had been shaken out of my fun with a face full of angry parent. My mom was confronted with the sight of me looking as if I was trying to shake all the fat off my body. I had no idea that I must have been exhibiting dire symptoms, probably resolved only through a lot of complicated medical procedures. I was constantly giving my parents the sensation that if I wasn't in urgent need of medical attention that I soon would be.

What probably made them the most frustrated, though, was the fact that they were unable to tell me why this was such a bad thing. They could only ask me to please not DO that any more. Aside from being worrisome behavior, it just wasn't right for anyone to act like that. Despite the fact that I was amusing myself and keeping relatively quiet, it just wasn't "normal". I'm sure I was to be discouraged from acting any more bizarre than I actually was, unless I had an actual medical emergency. I was told to keep my eyes and ears open while in the car so that I could be more aware of anything for the future. Keeping my eyes and ears open left me more available to bicker with my brother and sisters in earnest.


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