Ears are interesting things. Not necessarily because of their size and shape, and how proportional they are to your head, even though all of those to play an important role in how much you were teased as a child and is a motivational factor in whether or not you grow your hair long or not. What I am referring to the how our ears emotionally identify certain sounds and the power those sounds have to created a positive or negative reaction in us.
It was at a birthday party this past weekend and was reminded of one of my favorite sounds. The thing is I use to make this sound all the time growing up. It’s a relatively simple sound to make, one that I imagine we all enjoyed making in our youth and even during early infancy when we learned that fingers could be used to make a collection of noises when applied to your mouth. What could this sound of delight be? It’s the popping sound you can make as finger slides out of your mouth while it is pressing on the inside of one of your cheek.
To make this sound I highly recommend you wash your hands first. Hands are mischievous things that have a tendency to go places and touch things that not even a hand should touch. After washing your hands… you know, you might want to brush your teeth as well. At the very least I’d suggest gargling with some mouth wash. This, however, is dependent on if and what you have recently eaten. Once your hands and mouth are both properly sanitized for some friendly interaction, open your mouth and insert your index finger pressing it firmly against the inside of the cheek or your choice. Note: you will want to use a left to right system for this, i.e. if you use your right index finger, press it against the inside or your left cheek. Close your mouth around your finger so that no air can escape out of your mouth and then breathe out so that your mouth fills with air. As the pressure builds up, slide your finger along the side of your cheek and out of your mouth. As your finger exits, your mouth will make a loud popping noise.
There is another way to make this noise, which does not include any fingers in any mouths, and it is in this context that this sound that brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. It’s the popping sound a cork makes as it is removed from a new bottle of wine. Whenever I pull out a cork from a newly opened wine bottle that sound hits me in the face like a cream pie of pure joy. I’ll bet that anytime Dionysus makes a trumpeted entrance into Mount Olympus the horn section is a symphony of the cork popping sounds. It truly is one of my favorite euphoric sounds. And it is for that reason alone that I hope the screw top bottles in the wine world remain more minimal as opposed to becoming a standard.
Some other noises I love, that always put a smile on my face:
- The knock at the door when I am expecting friends to visit. I hear that knock and know who it is. I can’t help but smile as I walk up to the door to let them in.
- The sound of my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie laughing. Especially when I am in my office working and I can hear her downstairs laughing at something she is watching on the television… or YouTube. Her laugh is very infectious and fills me full of smiles.
- The song Glósóli by Sigur Ros, and even though I have no idea about what the song means (because it is performed in a foreign language) it always gets me smiley and feeling better about life, the universe, and everything.
Now to give a little yang to this yin topic… or is it the other way around? Either way, I figured it would only be fair if I offered a handful of sounds at make me my skin crawl, my teeth clinch, and the desire to have the connection from my ears to my brain to be severed. These sounds include:
- Frost being scrapped off of car windshields while I am sitting inside the car. Oddly, if I am the one outside scrapping of the windshield, I have no problem with the sound, but if I am sitting in the car and someone else is scrapping, I have turn up the heater and car stereo, and to stick my fingers in my ears to try to drown out the sound.
- Adults’ using baby-talk while conversing with other adults. This creates a very spontaneous and unrelenting desire to slap these adults in the face until they stops. I’m all for mimicking babies in their underdeveloped oratory as an attempt to get them to smile or giggle, or as a deterrent to get them to stop crying. When adults, actually let’s make that anyone older than three, starts using a baby-talk voice to ask for anything, everyone in ear shot is going to want to beat you until you promise never to talk like that again.
- The knock at the door when I have someone coming over that I am not particularly fond of. I hear the knock and I know who it is. I always have to try really hard to put a smile on my face as I walk up to the door to let them in.
- Radio commercials that use car horns in their commercial. I have, on more than one occasion, discovered that my middle finger becomes loaded and is ready to go off at a moment’s notice as a result of radio commercials honking at me during my drive to work. Freaks me out more often than not… between those commercials and the tedium of morning radio DJ’s I’ve pretty much stopped listening to the radio altogether.
The thing about euphoric sounds is its all relative, and no I’m not talking about any of my cousins… but then again, you might… I could go back to that door knocking experience with people at your door that you don’t want there. Well there you have it some of my yin sounds and yang noises.
What are some of your sounds that bring either joy or grumpiness… or some variety therein?
Google Images, keywords: big ears, mouth popping sound, opening wine, scraping ice, and joy.