A “What if” Book of magical realism by Fedora and Skimmer AMIS
Not for Profitt is a “What if” book which takes the idea behind musicophilia down an imaginary alley.
Bet you never heard the term. Neither had I until I caught an NPR clip about pathologist Dr. Oliver Sachs who wrote the book on the condition--literally-- (Musicophilia, Knopf 2007).
The good doctor ferrets out cases of people who can’t turn off the music in their heads. I imagine all of us have experienced the mildest form of the syndrome. Ever get a tune like Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" stuck in your head until you wanted to scream while doing the can-can and eating a stick of beef jerky?
Musicophilia is the instant replay of the tune that haunts—in spades and on steroids. The victim can’t turn off the music, can’t tell the jukebox to play a different tune. Worst of all, the poor listener is forced to listen 24-7 to music he or she absolutely loathes.
Dr. Sachs told the story of Michael Sundue, a young man sailing from the Caribbean to Connecticut to deliver a yacht. Unlike the yacht of my dreams, this one had no amenities--no TV--not even radio--except the kind all boats have for safety. Michael thought the trip would be a grand adventure. Wrong. Worse still, it took 22 days.
Becalmed for two weeks on flat water with no wind, he read every book he’d brought and was listlessly listening to the refrigerator hum when heavy metal boomed and deedle-deedled in his head. Michael hated heavy metal, but his brain didn’t care. After hi-amp noise almost pushed him round the bend, the music changed--to highland bagpipes—more wailing to grind his teeth by. Michael was infinitely grateful to return to shore where strange music poured from I-Pods instead of his head.
Dr. Sachs believes the condition is caused by “understimulated neurons in the brain.” In other words, when sound receptors in the brain don’t have enough to do, like bored children they start making up mischief on their own.
What if our conscience receptors were to do the same thing? What if the jaded conscience needed only a push in the right direction to take over an unrepentant soul and cause it to dwell in painful remorse? That is the question asked in
Not for Profitt .