Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Signal Abuse

During my time as a lowly Tower Books employee, there was opportunity to be idle. And how. Nothing obnoxious, mind you, like ruffling hairpieces or goosing women. We had that much respect for customers. Music was the gray zone. We played whatever we felt like on the speaker system and turned it up. This was not always appreciated, as in the encounter I had with one icy-eyed gent who informed me in so many words that if I didn't turn down the goddam noise he was leaving.
Upstart that I was, my immediate thought was, Good riddance. An early adopter of Those not with us are against us. The problem, on both sides, was signal abuse.
Not turn signal abuse, mind you. We could use some more of that in our fair city, to be honest. There's entirely a lack of turn signal abuse here, but that's a topic for another time.
We had a problem with signal abuse, me and Mr Goddam Noise: he failing to find words to get the desired result and me with signal indifference by not only walking away in non-conciliation but going so far as to turn the music up. (Those were the days.) Both of us did the wrong thing.
The signal-to-noise ratio was not in our favor.
Lately I've been maddened by a similar ratio in media. The goddam noise is out of control. Stephen Colbert at a congressional hearing? Lady Gaga telling the nation to ask and tell? The scandal of Katy Perry's cleavage on Sesame Street? Lindsay Lohan waking up in the morning? The noise-o-sphere is making so much racket it makes my fillings hurt.
The Tower Books customer had it easy.

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