In Pursuit of Vapidity 

Have you ever thought of getting your ears insured? To do so would not be without precedent. Robert Parker, the wine critic, took out a million dollar policy on his nose. How much do you think our skilled ears are worth?

I don't know about you, but after a day of intense sessions, I resemble the bandaged Van Gogh. My ears feel chaffed, as if a mildly abrasive stream of phonemes has rubbed up against them a little too long. I find myself in need of a balm.

Recently, I have discovered the perfect ointment: vapid pop music.

In particular, my relief is aurally dispensed by radio station 99.7. And, how instantly is quenched the fire in mine ears -- the emollient and catchy melodies, the deep bass, the deliciously un-enigmatic signifiers. The DJ suddenly comes on and tells mall-bound listeners to pick him up "some orange chicken from Panda and a pretzel from Auntie Anne's." Hell yeah! I am transported back to far less ambiguous and youthful times, when it was all about skateboarding, cilia-destroying punk rock shows, and acting morose at the mall. What concern did I have about the autistic-contiguous position?

At first, I only listened to 99.7 on the way home from the office. Now, the siren-like-hold of the various hits has eroded the time otherwise spent listening to the sobering realities of National Public Radio. My wife, who at first was convinced I must be losing my mind, now appreciates that B.o.B. and Bruno Mars instantly soothes our five-week-old infant.

Another unforeseen benefit of listening to 99.7 has been the way it helps me connect with teenagers in my practice. Not only does the regression it induces help me keep in touch with something of their mentality, it also supplies me with fun lingo with which to potentially embarrass myself. Recently, during a session, the continual vibrations emanating from a teenager's cell phone had me commenting, "Wow, someone's really blowing up your phone!" She flashed me a textbook Cheshire grin. 

So, then, I imagine many practitioners of our art have found similar vapid pursuits for themselves in one sensory modality or another. But, if not, maybe you too will succumb and, to repeat the station's mantra, "make the move to 99.7."

Warm Regards,
Matthew Morrissey, MFT