Would Daniel Boone put up with your misophonia? I started thinking about this after reading an article about it and wondering how many of us modern peeps would end up abandoned on the Trail West if we even mentioned we didn’t like the sound of our fellow wagoneers’ chewing when they chomped on their buffalo jerky.
There’s a new syndrome in town, and its name is misophonia. Misophonia is a condition that makes it terribly difficult for the sufferer to be around people who make noises.
Maybe you shuffle when you walk, or your jaw pops when you eat, or maybe you like oxygen, so you breathe. Shame on you.
The misophone cannot stand these noises. They will snap your head off–making a lot of noise in the process–if you don’t knock off the noise.
The article I read in Reader’s Digest was about a convention for misophones. They all get together in a big, echoing hall and tell each other to be quiet–or rather they pass each other cards which say it. That’s a much quieter way to do it. A guy named Paul Tabachneck, who attended the convention, was interviewed for the article. How he managed to get to this gathering through the obstacles presented by a world full of noise, the article didn’t say.
Wikipedia, my go-to source for all things misophonia related, says:
People who have misophonia are most commonly angered by specific sounds, such as slurping, throat-clearing, nail-clipping, chewing, drinking, tooth-brushing, breathing, sniffing, talking, sneezing, yawning, walking, gum-chewing or popping, laughing, snoring, swallowing, gulping, typing, coughing, humming, whistling, singing, certain consonants, or repetitive sounds.
Pretty much covers all the sounds someone makes while they dare to go on living.
After reading all this (making sure my eyeballs didn’t make any noise) and chewing over the information very quietly, I came to the conclusion that some misophoniacs, particularly Tabachneck, are doubly afflicted: With misophonia and extreme rudeness and obnoxiousness.
He’s like the drunk who can’t understand why everyone else is acting like such an ass.
He and the journalist were having lunch together, when the journalist scraped his fork on his plate. This was enough to cause Mr. T to lose it. He whipped his head around at the hapless journalist, and took him to task.
“Why did you do that?” he roared at him. “And do you know that your jaw pops when you eat?”
Presumably, the journalist slunk away from the table to finish his meal in the janitor’s closet, where there are rarely any miso-maniacs stashed away to get on his case for clinking silverware and clicking bones.
Who blows up at and embarrasses their dining companion for scraping a fork, or for something they obviously can’t help, like a popping jaw? Miss Manners certainly wouldn’t have much sympathy for Mr. T.
Two misophones who dine together must regularly get kicked out of restaurants. The article never said whether Tabachneck was perfect, or even perfectly silent when HE eats.
Let’s listen in on a pair of misophoniacs on a dinner date:
First miso-maniac: (Dining on raw oysters): “Never mind the book you read about how we can achieve world peace in our lifetime. Why are you swallowing your beer? I can hear it!”
Second miso-maniac: (Eating marshmallows and clear broth): “Shut up! You just slurped that oyster, and it was disgusting! And why did you move your feet under the table? I heard your shoe scrape on the floor, AND your knee popped!”
FMM(First miso-maniac): “Well, I heard you put down your soup spoon! You did that deliberately just to annoy me.”
SMM: “Yeah, that’s right. And now I’m going to scoot my chair closer to the table! Neener, neener, neener!”
FMM: “You sonofabitch. I’m going to order a fresh, crisp salad and eat it really slooowly. We’ll see who has the last laugh. But you’d better not laugh. That is such a downer.”
SMM: “Bring it. And you’d better not make any noise when you do, you obnoxious little woodchipper.”
As we’ve become a more “civilized” society–which seems to mean leaving many of its trappings, like courtesy and common sense, behind–we’ve developed syndromes and afflictions that would never be tolerated outside of an ancient royal (and inbred), court.
Tabachneck should try acting out his unfortunate proclivities in the company of men like Daniel Boone, or Doctors Without Borders, or in a concentration camp. See if he’ll find sympathy for his misophonia, or for his rudeness, in those environments.
Misophone in Daniel Boone’s hunting party: “Dude, would you quit slurping your coffee? You know I can’t stand it. And what are those noises in the woods? Twigs snapping, wolves howling, owls hooting. It’s a circus out here!”
Daniel Boone: (He actually says nothing; just stares at his companion for a minute, laughs, and then ties him to a tree and covers him with honey.)
Daniel Boone may have been a closet misophone, who had to go live in the woods by himself. He’d slap his dogs and horses around for panting, licking, barking, and chomping feed too loudly.
I saw a news report about a child who couldn’t take any of the noises her mom made, even her talking. The mother was living on tenterhooks. I don’t know if tenterhooks make much noise, but guess who else was suffering in this relationship?
Why didn’t I think of this, when I wanted ice cream, or to stay out all night? Oh, yeah. Because my mom and dad would have told me to get over it ASAP. With three other kids in the house, who would have had the time or patience for this disorder?
I don’t sound very sympathetic, but then again, sympathy makes too much noise, sort of like the noise an outraged misophone makes when you bite into your celery stalk.
Edit: I re-posted this because it is getting a lot of views after four years of relative obscurity. I wrote it in 2016. I wondered why it was of sudden interest, and I guessed that the quarantine and forced proximity to other people was generating it. Be safe out there, people. Don’t bang your family members over the head because their breathing bothers you. Find a politician, maybe, and do it to them. Or else get your family to do an Anne Frank in hiding in the attic. Good luck with that.
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