Long ago I had this girlfriend who used to tell me when her “friend” arrived, every month.  Her friend was her period.  I recall thinking weird thoughts when she would tell me that.  I guess I should have been relieved.

Our company receptionist occasionally tells me that my “friend”, Bob, called.  Bob is a pesky vendor who won’t take no for an answer.  I wouldn’t regard him as a friend but he is referred to as one, albeit sarcastically.

My friend is G-sharp, four octaves above middle C.  An octave above that, he’s a quieter C-sharp.  Those two notes define my friend.  My friend is tinnitus, ringing in the ears.  My friend is there in especially quiet moments like when I go to bed.

My friend is in my right ear.  Usually he’s pretty quiet, but when he is shouting I have to cock my head and point my left ear in the direction that I want to hear, out of concern that my friend will drown out the sound.  My friend is pretty rude.

I love music, all kinds of music, but of late it doesn’t sound nearly as clear or complex as it used to.  My upper range is mud, which dampens the crisp sound of a cymbal or the high notes of a violin, piccolo or lead guitar.  Worse, there’s always that G-sharp in my ear, which can wreck havoc for those keys that don’t normally support a G-sharp.  I can still hear thumping bass just fine but it’s not the same as when I was twenty.  There’s a lesson here.  I should have been wearing ear muffs when I mowed my lawn or used my table saw.

Because of my friend I am never alone.


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