SOUNDS OF VIOLENCE!

The disorder is called misophonia. When I first heard about this I thought it was a feeling you experience when you can’t find your cellular device.  So what is it? Well, if you have misophonia, you’re not going to like the sound of this. Actually, if you have it, you are not going to like the sound of almost anything. The malady is characterized by an aversion and sometimes a violent response to certain everyday sounds.
A man who wrote a recent article about this is a primary care physician who claims there are certain noises he can’t tolerate. Hopefully “Ouch!” and “ahhh…” are not examples of those. He admits being overly sensitive to yawners and to people whose “saliva is audible when they speak.” By the way, if your saliva is saying anything interesting, I’d like to interview you on my TV segment.
At the misophonia website, many people expressed great relief at discovering that other people had this problem, suggesting it meant they were not crazy. That’s like watching a documentary about a woman who sprinkles sawdust on her corn flakes like you do and then saying: “See, I’m not so loony, after all.” One man said that he suffered from the disorder way before he knew there was a word for it. This is not so unusual.  My mother told me that as an infant I had catastrophic intestinal issues, but I don’t think I ever heard the word diarrhea until I was in the fourth grade.
One woman commented that she hated the sound of heavy breathing and when she heard anyone doing it, she immediately left the room. She signed her post as Chastity, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Another lady said that she hated it when people whistled through their noses and still another poor soul said that she could not stand the sound of her own chewing. Don’t tell the whole world about this, lady.  Just keep your mouth shut.
The sound of people eating popcorn was mentioned in several of the posts.  And the crunching of apples drives a lot of people bonkers. One farmer said—and I swear I am not making this up—that when her husband eats an apple, she has to cover her ears, “but  listening to my horse eating an apple doesn’t bother me at all.” Here’s another post:  “I can’t stand any sounds that are emitted orally.” So apparently as long as her partner doesn’t snore or burp, she’s happy with anything. A newlywed said that her husband’s eating disgusts her and she’s thinking of leaving him. What? She’s just now discovering this? Waiting until marriage for intimacy is old-fashioned enough, but waiting for your first meal? What cult is that?
The sounds made by ice cream eaters are also annoying to some people. What with the lip-smacking and the spoon hitting the bottom of the bowl, one woman confessed she was thinking about doing away with her husband, but instead she told him he was lactose intolerant. A senior citizen said that when his wife gulps soup, he wants to ring her neck. By the way, ringing is sound most people hate.
Check out the website Misophonia.com.  Are these real people with legitimate concerns? Who knows. Maybe it’s all just hearsay.

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DOG BEAT DOG WORLD

A beagle named Miss P is now America’s top dog. For the second time, a beagle has won the Westminster Dog Show. Tails and tongues are wagging. For me, this news is incredibly wonderful. Here’s why:
Twenty-five years ago this month, before heading out to do my morning TV show, I found a stray beagle on my front doorstep. You might already know the story. Barney was sweet and loving but he was destructive and disobedient. “You can keep him,” said my wife, “but you’ll have to take him to work with you during the day.”
So, I did. Not just that day, but for the next 12 years, and almost 2,500 TV shows. When he died in 2004, I received 3,000 letters and emails. The front page of the Indianapolis Star headlined it this way: “WISH-TV’s Little Bandit Dies at 14.”
A few years later, a friend tried to persuade me to write a book about Barney’s exploits, but I was reluctant. It would be a lot of work—and a tough task for me emotionally. I received an offer from a New York publishing company, yet I wavered until the very last minute. Then something changed my mind. Here’s how I wrote about that moment in my book Mornings with Barney: “The week before I had to tell the publisher my decision, Uno, an adorable little beagle, won first prize in his class at the Westminster Dog Show, the Academy Awards for canines. But I was pretty sure a beagle wasn’t going to win Best in Show. The champion dogs were never from the working-class category.
Shortly after, Uno was proclaimed the world’s number one canine.  He also could have won noisiest in show (not to mention the nosiest) and the hungriest. Finally, beagle owners had something to howl about. Yes, this was the first time a beagle had won the coveted award. The story goes that a beagle had been a contender back in 2003, but he went outside to go to the bathroom and he didn’t come back for three months.
Yes, whoever was in charge of the cosmic sign department had sent me a clear message when Uno was crowned.  The next day I agreed to write the book. I knew there was more to tell about Barney and I was sure that after Uno’s victory, a whole new decade of beagles would be around every corner (and in every garbage can). People would be adopting beagles, so I had to write the book quickly—before they all ran away.
Seven years after Uno’s win and 25 years after I found Barney on my doorstep, another beagle has claimed top prize at Westminster. These past 10 years I was blessed with another beagle—now gone—who was just as troublesome as Barney. “What a good dog,” people always told me about Toby.  “No,” I said, “a GREAT dog. Not a good dog.”
When Uno won in 2008, Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star drew a cartoon of the beagle wearing sunglasses and standing on his hind legs alongside a newspaper declaring Uno “numero uno.” He was sporting a T-shirt that said “Joe Cool.” A huge copy of that drawing hangs above my desk, signed by Gary.
I don’t think a beagle will win again for a long time. Three top dogs from the same family seems unlikely. However, I’m not sure Barbara Bush would agree with that.

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