Tuesday, November 30, 2010




: harsh or discordant sound : dissonance; specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases

The first thing that comes to mind in the category of CACOPHONOUS sounds are the discordant and piercing screams of children. It recently occurred to me that I haven't screamed—and I mean really screamed—in probably a hearty two decades. At some point in early pre-adolescence it just becomes socially unacceptable to scream like a child unless you are being murdered or attacked in a seriously life-threatening way. This is kind of a shame. As a child I prided myself on my screaming abilities; I would often attempt to scream louder and longer and deeper than my peers. I suppose it was a symbol of something—passion? inhibition? liveliness? Not to mention that screaming was an irreplaceable release—all of my excitement or fear reaching out from the depths of my childhood in the form of a shrill and guttural sound that cut into the air with the urgency and volume of an ambulance siren.

What takes the place of this release in our adult lives? Karaoke? It's not quite the same. Where does your average city-dwelling adult go to scream, just for the sake of screaming? If I scream in my house the neighbors—separated by two exterior walls sandwiching five feet of open space—will surely think I'm being slaughtered. I don't have a car in which I can blast music and conceal my scream's absurd volume. There are no secluded places out of earshot—open fields, woods—within reasonable distance. Cities really should have "screaming ranges." I suppose they could charge by the scream. Two, three dollars a pop? I would pay a couple bucks to go scream somewhere. Imagine the CACOPHONY in that establishment.

Oh, but the relief—priceless.

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