Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

Holiday Bells


Category: philosophies

One of the worst aspects of the holiday season has to be the prevalence of high-pitched ringing things. Bells, chimes, and a myriad of other painful noises ring out the holiday cheer. Naturally, this causes extraordinary pain in those of us with good hearing.

I was never prone to listening to loud music. I could, however, sit in the woods and, if I concentrated, pick out the individual sounds of bugs crawling on the leaves. This ability to hear minute sounds has been handy. There have been a couple of would-be assailants thwarted by the little sounds they make while preparing to pounce. As a repair guy, the ability to hear the inner workings of the machines greatly improved my efficiency.

Then there?s the down side. I get to hear all the retarded conversations going on at restaurants. I get to hear all the whispering in the movie theater (though most theaters are unnecessarily loud). Of course the worst of all: bells.

When I hear a bell, especially a well made one that produces a clean sine wave, the noise rips through my auditory canal and sends fire through my brain. It?s like tearing out the neural tissues and feeding them to hungry ants. The louder and the clearer the ringing, the worse the pain.

So, during the holiday season, when there are bells everywhere, I tend to hide. Unless I have no alternative but to go to a store with a Salvation Army bell ringer in front, I will shop elsewhere. Those people get obnoxious. I will try to get buy them as quick as I can so as to minimize the pain. They take offense at that and ring their bells harder. A couple of them have actually followed to the door of the store ringing their bells ?at? me.

My natural instinct upon seeing a bell ringer is to bash them. There seems to be something unnatural about a creature that stands outside during the wolf season and making a loud noise. It?s like calling out to all hungry predators that you are weak and stupid and ready for snacking. From the look of most of them, I wouldn?t want to eat any of them, but I have no problem with the idea of ending the pain.

Now, I understand that most people enjoy the bells. Most people don?t revile them the way I do. For that reason, I try to be polite. I don?t actually bash the bell ringers, no matter how much they need it. I also don?t call store managers and tell them that I?m shopping elsewhere just to avoid the noise pollution. I don?t begrudge the charity work done by the Salvation Army, though I?m inclined to donate to quieter groups.

Despite my tolerant attitude toward those bell-ringing wastes of oxygen, I am ready to be mean at a given moment. The next time one of those bastards rings ?at? me as I try to get by with my hearing intact, I?m calling the police and making a big production over the cruelty displayed by the ringer. I?m going to threaten to sue not only the store but the Salvation Army as well. Then I?ll call every retail store manager in the phone book and explain that any headache I get while passing near his or her bell-ridden store will result in litigation.

Then, finally, I will have some bit of peace when dropping by the local merchants I love to support. The only bells will the ones on the incessant holiday music on television and radio commercials and the occasional bell choir. Fortunately I can revel in the fact that the bell choir kids are mostly nerds who are beaten at school regularly anyway. Soon it will be January. Everyone will have rung in the new year and things will be quiet once again.

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