Turned Up To 11, Always

Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner): Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder? 

Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest): These go to eleven.

From “This Is Spinal Tap”

This is just another hissy fit post, similar to Did You?, but sillier. Well, sort of. I’m also serious, but don’t take myself too seriously.

In Did You?, I listed some questions people ask a cancer patient to find out if there was something the patient did or didn’t do that caused the cancer. That post is me complaining about the way folks love to blame the patient, so they can assure themselves that by doing the opposite actions, they will be safe.

But what is troublesome is that some of the items I listed that might cause cancer are pleasurable. For example, drinking, smoking, getting a tan, are indulged in for fun by some. And I’ll admit I find great pleasure in sweet foods, like chocolate and cheesecake.

My point is, with all the “advice” tossed off in the media and from well-meaning, but-won’t-shut-up-with-the-advice types, I sometimes twist it in my head into: never have any fun—it causes cancer or other damage. I get overwhelmed sometimes and grumble to myself, great, I think I’ll just ingest a leaf of lettuce and a gallon of water each day—nothing else, and maybe that will keep me safe. Except it won’t, because the lettuce was probably treated with some chemical and can I even trust where water comes from? Well, I suppose if I pay an arm and a leg for it.

I could extend the list of killer/fun behaviors, and extend the list of negative consequences to health problems beyond cancer. Nearly all the cancer-causing items cause heart or other disease. And I’m causing myself all kinds of harm by constantly being attached to some electronic, internet connected device. Hell, even my mobile has started to berate me.

I attach a speaker to my mobile via the headphone jack, and as I turn up the volume, a message appears about prolonged high volumes and headphones causing hearing loss (“you dumbass,” I wanna scream at the phone, “other things get hooked into the headphone jack, not just things that go directly into my ear!!”).

But the truth is, I already have quite a bit of hearing loss and it is my fault. As those who’ve read other posts on this blog o’ mine will know, I write a bit about music, and my tastes run to the loud and aggressive—lots of screechy guitars. I love punk, grunge, hard rock, hip hop, all kinds of ear-splitting stuff. I’ve loved that sort of music for over half my life and don’t foresee a change.

I’ve been going to concerts to see the bands that make this music for about 20 years now. Well, I haven’t gone much in the past ten years. But I did see quite a few bands, in small places, where loud music reverberated off the walls. And no, I did not wear anything to protect my ears, as many musicians and concert attendees do these days. So, that is how I’ve caused hearing loss. That, and turning it up loud in the car, windows up, singing along, and I’m told my music can be heard as I pull up in driveways. For me there are few pleasures better than the music being turned up so loud I can feel it in my bones.

I have difficulty on telephones when people do not speak clearly or speak too quickly. And why do so many people insist on talking to me when I am far away, walking away, or running water or doing some other noise-producing activity? I cannot hear any of it!

So, all this said, it would be reasonable for me to have learned a lesson, to turn it down a bit.



I’m so tired of doing the “right” things. I am so tired of an extreme healthy culture that I feel like I cannot have any fun doing “bad” things. Yeah yeah yeah, exercise is fun, and I’m sure there are many healthy activities for me to find—please, don’t send me suggestions. Because nothing can replace as good as loud feels for me.

I have, of course, reduced some of my indulgences—I drink much less, eat better, exercise more, since cancer. I still get annoyed when I see health or money saving advice start with: quit smoking and give up soda (carbonated beverages, whatever they are called in whatever region). I never smoked and hate soda, and beer for that matter. So I cannot get a quick obvious start to getting healthier or saving money. And as much as I say I love cheesecake, I love veggies just as much, and have always eaten quite a lot of them, so the veggies are already added to the diet—they were always there. Just not at the same time as the cheesecake, ha ha.

I’m going to keep turning my music up as loud as I want. I will go to my grave—whether it is cancer that sends me there or something else—deaf as post and I will not care. Please don’t take this one last bit of bad fun from me. I need it to keep the fear cancer has introduced into my life at bay.

“Something else is hurting you – that’s why you need pot or whiskey, or screaming music turned so fucking loud you can’t think.”  — Charles Bukowski

%d bloggers like this: