Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I have misophonia (common sounds annoy me)

I self-diagnosed acute misophonia when I realized the sound of the dog licking his ghost balls was driving me insane.

We had his raisin-sized testicles removed years ago, yet he still licks the vacancy with lusty gusto.

He does it every night in our bed for 15 minutes just as I’m trying to fall sleep. The sound makes me, well, nuts.

I was thinking of this when the Oxford English Dictionary word-of-the-day sailed into my inbox.

Misophonia: An extreme negative reaction to common sounds other people ignore.

The condition wasn’t diagnosed until the year 2000.

It can involve the sound of someone chewing, clicking their teeth or drumming their fingers.

Bernie Tiede has it. 

He was the subject of a 2011 film starring the reliably entertaining Jack Black as Bernie, a beloved Texas funeral director who became soulmates with wealthy widow sourpuss Marge Nugent (Shirley MacLaine, above).

Nugent eventually took control of Tiede’s life to suppressive lengths. She began to dominate every aspect of his once-joyful existence.

Sure, that was stifling, but the movie deftly belabored a point that what got the better of Tiede was Nugent’s habit of chewing every single bite of food 25 times. Even things like jello.

Close-ups showed of her chewing seemed to amplify the sound.

What did Bernie do?

He — spoiler alert! — murdered her and stuffed her bullet-riddled body in a freezer.

I imagine it’s the sound of steel doors at the Telford state prison clanging shut that grates on him now. He’s there serving a life sentence.

Now, I don’t want to murder Snickers, but he’s the reason I realize I have misophonia.

Mine seems to be an rare case because my misophonia seems to afflict me just some of the time.

See, I hate his shrill bark, his nervous yips and the gross licking, but I love the sound of my daughters laughing when they’re playing with him.

I love the sound of train whistles rolling through the valleys on still mornings, but hate the sound of the souped up muscle car that’s right now idling outside my office window at the intersection. Both convey travel, but one does so with romance, the other riot.

I love the sound of Penguin announcer Mike Lange’s voice as he exalts, “He shoots! He scores!” Same goes for announcer Greg Brown’s when he alerts Pirate fans it’s time to raise the Jolly Roger.

But my misophonia becomes acute anytime I hear any announcer say, “And Tom Brady has just led the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory!”

I love “The Sound of Music,” a family favorite, and I love the sound of music as long as I’m in charge of what’s playing.

I hate the sound of anyone offering an opinion that differs from mine. I especially hate it when logic gives me a sneaking suspicion they’re right and I’m wrong.

I love the sound of leaves blowing along the ground, but hate the sound of leaf blowers.

Some of my favorite sounds aren’t even sounds at all. A million snowflakes striking the ground outside my window on a Sunday morning cannot be heard, but it conveys an awesomeness I relish, one that promises a day of warm family togetherness.

I love the sound of people speaking in respectful hushes in libraries, but I also love being startled by occasional bursts of laughter there.

I guess I just love being in libraries.

I enjoy hearing Simon and Garfunkle sing “The Sound of Silence” while realizing it is 3:05 of blatant titular fraud.

I guess I prefer the sound of silence.

I’d explain all this to the stupid dog, but I realize I’d just be hearing myself talk.

When it comes to putting up with annoying sounds, he’s been neutered, but I’m the one who’s licked.


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