November 21

No Music Day

 

Your best bud Lyle always wished his life had a music score.  “There should be a theme song when I enter the room.  Kind of James Bond-y as I saunter in, all eyes turning my way.”

His wife suggested the Jaws theme might be a closer fit.

The idea was funny, but to your way of thinking there was already too much music in the world.  At the shopping mall, re-recordings of outdated hits attempted to sway your mood towards “Buy Something, you really need to Buy Something.”  In the elevator, gentle harp and piano tones assured you, “Strangers aren’t standing too close, the walls aren’t closing in, the brakes will work the way you hope.” At the doctor or dentist’s office, cheerful tunes sang, “Don’t think about drills or disease, or sharp objects inserted beneath your skin.”

Even as you walked down the sidewalk, music poured out open storefronts, plunked from the out-of-tune guitars of street performers, or thumped from the inconsiderate rolled-down windows of passing automobiles.

And in the movies themselves, the music scores had become increasingly obtrusive.  Couldn’t characters fall in love without violins on the soundtrack?  It was as if the filmmakers didn’t trust the audience to figure things out for themselves.

Big-budget action movies were the worst:  every cinematic apocalypse added cymbals and kettle drums as if the boom of actual explosions wasn’t sufficient.  For the formulaic crowd-pleasing conclusion, they’d add a rousing pseudo-military march — accompanied, eventually, by the heroic sweep of government trucks and tanks, delivering blankets and food and water to dirty-faced, rag-dressed civilians.

The actual apocalypse didn’t hit like the ones in the movies.  You plugged your fingers in your ears and cowered in the corner of a storm shelter, but you still heard every terrible explosion.  Once the bombing stopped you tried to find your friends, but their house was completely gone.  And their street.

Trucks and tanks forgot to roll through the aftermath to distribute free government rations.  Honestly, you couldn’t blame them.  There weren’t many people left to rescue.

But at least your life finally got the soundtrack you wished for:

Silence.

You never thought it could be so loud.