Lisa Nielsen and
Jay Young Gerard

Lisa Nielsen
“Static Between Stations”


My Dear Old Familiar
By Jay Young Gerard

Inspiration piece

My Dear Old Familiar*
*with apologies to Toni Morrison

I now think that perhaps I have always had tinnitus. As soon as I gave it a name – about three months ago when I returned from Berkeley and realized that although my ears had finally popped after my plane trip, there was a sound in my head – as soon as I gave it a name, Tinnitus, (later confirmed by two ENT docs) I immediately thought, “H’mmm, this seems familiar. Maybe I’ve always had this but just didn’t recognize its presence until it was introduced to me by name.” I’ve always had that rather formal streak in me: comes from Mother and her fears: “We must be properly introduced…” Everything, in fact, had to be “proper”. It was her favorite word and modus operendi. She hid behind it.

Anyway: so there it was/is. Perhaps it dates from being bonked on the head when I was five and having my skull cracked open. Or perhaps from my “incident” last year that I call “knives in my head” when I thought I was dying, though an MRI and subsequent life proved otherwise. Or perhaps it is brand new, the result of the plane pressure gone wrong.

Or, as I have also thought, perhaps it is the gods’ answer to my lament that it was always so friggin’ deafeningly silent in here. SO quiet. I could hear nothing at times. No street sounds, insect sounds, no humming refrigerator or birds, no heat, electric or plumbing sounds and – mainly, most notably – no human sounds. An indication of my total aloneness, the soundlessness of my existence was nearly unbearable.

So here it is: a permanent, constant companion. My sound. My own personal sound. Only I can hear it and oh yes, it’s real indeed and is always there even when I’m not listening to it.

It can be overpowered, even briefly ignored or forgotten. But no, it never goes away. I am no longer ever ever ever alone.

I must be VERY careful what I ask for as gods and genies do work in mysterious ways, and as the Geico commercial says, he/she/it can be very literal. Though not filled with “bucks” in any shape or form, as in the commercial, I have my own private manifestation that shows that god/genie/life/I, am a joker. And the joker is arbitrary, wicked and wild. It’s like me and my shadow, except that this is with me even in lightless places where shadows are not cast.

Especially in lightless places. Especially in the dark.



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