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The Essay
Show #82
Die Zeitgeist von Zipgriffenfeldenmutter
David Gunn
There exists in western New England a tribe of musicians that carefully cultivates the tufts of hair which grow out of their ears. They do this for psychoacoustic reasons. They say the hairs -- when of a particular length and width -- can act as conduits for sound waves, increasing and amplifying the audible human spectrum by half again. As proof, they point to a scientific paper of Erich Von Daniken, "Hörentuften und die Zeitgeist von Zipgriffenfeldenmutter" -- translation available at www.griffenfeldenmutter dot com -- which explains the benefits to parochial society not only of ear shrubbery, but also of nosal weeds and mouthfur, debunking an otorhinolaryngologist’s worst nightmare. The eartufts, normally absent in humanoids before puberty, can be artificially affixed to the outer ear canal in children as young as 10 weeks. Attractive lacquers add a colorful quality to the ear appearance, with the added benefit of being able to absorb random radon rays from space. It is thought that people who have been exposed to high magnitude thermonuclear discharges -- such as those found on the sun -- are more likely to receive good radio reception on their ear tufts than people who get no closer to the solar vortex than an occasional afternoon tan at the beach.

As mentioned, the tuftal dimensions are critical. The optimum length is 1/100 the circumference of the fattest part of the cranium, times two. (An uninformed mathematician might attempt to substitute 1/50th for the 1/100 times 2, but that would fail to take into account the vagaries of Clementi’s Equation as it pertains to Algonquin Hole Theory and, hence, would be off by six.) The breadth, though less crucial, should still be at the very least perpendicular to the length. A good rule of thumb is that it should be narrower than a rule of thumb. As far as anyone knows, Clementi’s Equation has no bearing on it.

OK, so you have this presumably lice-free thatchwork of hairy fibers sticking out of your ear; what happens next? According to the New England musicians, you need only relax, close your eyes, nose and mouth, and wait. Just as nosal weeds detect otherwise invisible aromas and mouthfur sends imperceptible gustatory signals to pliant tastebuds, properly coifed eartufts will "hear" that which has previously been hidden from your ears. If no paranormal auditory sensation is immediately forthcoming, or if you find you cannot breathe comfortably through your epidermis, they recommend you seek additional ear treatment at the famous otiopathic medical institution in Medford, Massachusetts where Von Daniken interned for six weeks, Tufts University.

Tough is also the type of music we gravitate towards on this show, i.e. Kalvos & Damian’s New Music Bazaar, mark 82. We may not be able to hear each paranormal sonic event we play -- as we keep our ear canal shrubbery neatly trimmed to accommodate the radiophonic studio’s rigid dress code -- but we know they’re out there, just the same.

Just the same, or le flambeau oriange in Dutch West Indonesian, is, on the other hand, what brought down deep-voiced Ken Nordine, who produced NPR Playhouse’s Word Jazz back when radio theater was in vogue. Mr. Nordine advised listeners to "stare with your ears," not an easy task when your tufts are attuned to the ontological musings of polliwogs from Venus. One day when he, too, was "staring with his ears," the phrase just the same suddenly appeared as a giant auditory blip before him, and ... well, I see my time, as was Mr. Nordine’s jig, is up. The management of the program now invites you to instead steer with your hairs, that is, let your body follicles be your guide to musical indulgence, as you remain tuned to this station and us, one of whom had the foresight to be Kalvos.