Apropos of Nothing: Hearing Voices isn’t Always a Bad Thing
An Editorial by Jamie Beckett
There are voices in my head. Good voices. They entertain me and make me laugh. I’m not embarrassed about it a bit, either. In fact, I hope they never go away.
I should be so lucky.
You see, my kids are growing up and becoming independent. The little rodent people who used to crawl on my floor, spill drinks on the dinner table, and wake me from a sound sleep more often than not – well, they’re all grown up now. The youngest is in high school. The oldest is older than I was when he was born. He’s gone now, living in the wilds of New York City. He’s got a career and his own apartment and everything. Go figure. The middle one will probably move out sooner rather than later, too. And the youngest won’t be here for more than a couple more years.
The actual people they belong to are moving on, but the voices will stay. My wife and I are going to be empty nesters soon.
It’s about time!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. All three of ‘em are fantastic examples of what you can do with some random DNA, a bit of baby formula, plenty of time-outs, and a lot of hugs. They’re functional human beings who to this point haven’t held up a bank, bilked the local gentry out of their life savings, or hidden a body in the backyard under the shed. At least not as far as I know. Sometimes, they look at me funny, though. So you never can tell really. They’re kids. And as anyone with kids can tell you, expect the unexpected. Seriously. Kids are just plain weird.
The weirdness doesn’t matter. The important thing is the voices in my head. They’re getting louder, which is good, because if they were quiet and dainty I wouldn’t be able to hear them over the ringing in my ears. But I can hear them fine, because they shout with exuberance. They laugh like they just heard the funniest joke in the world. They shriek and squeal and run rampant through my head all day and all night. I love it. Those voices represent the memories of my kids, which I hold in my cranium as priceless treasures. Their voices are as high-pitched, clear, and innocent as they ever were. Like a favorite movie in my library, I run through the things they said and the laughs that erupted from deep in their little bellies over and over again.
They’re not alone in there, either. My head’s not just filled with childlike nonsense and knock-knock jokes that were stupid the first time around and just get dumber every time they’re retold. Nope, there’s a few old guys in there, too. One in particular brings me a special joy. It’s my granddad, an old guy from the really old days, before electricity, indoor plumbing, or automobiles. When I was just a little guy I’d lay in his big four poster bed on bright sunny mornings as he sang, Blow the Man Down. His croaky old man voice is still in my noggin’ every bit as real as it was half a century ago.
You can’t get cool stuff like this at the app store. It won’t play on your iPhone. You’ve got to be a little crazy to tune in to these stations. Thank goodness I am afflicted as I am.
Someday, if I get really lucky, maybe my granddad and my kids will meet up in my brainpan. The chorus of voices would do me good, I’m sure. I can just imagine my youngest telling my granddad with glee how cool it is that she was born 100 years after he was. And there I am as the lynchpin linking the two of them together, knowing that she’ll be telling stories about good ol’ granddad — stories I told her, two hundred years after he came into this world.
Yep, being a little crazy is good. But then, I have kids. Being a little crazy is a requirement of the job.