Movies, Monkeys, and the Music in my Head
There’s music playing in my head right now. Not the kind you’d expect. Not the Sirius XM playlist kind of music that some invisible algorithm picks for you from somewhere in the black bowels of your emo soul.
It’s something more insidious.
When I was 20, I had a job in retail, selling wallpaper and other equally inane home decor products for a nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate. And no, I could not make that shit up if I sat down hard and tried. Anyway, this nationally known chain of stores, owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate did not play well-known music over the ceiling speakers for the customer’s in-store pleasure. What they played was a six-hour, continuously looped, instrumental audio tape of songs, scientifically created… or so we were told in training… to stimulate the shopper’s brain in such a way as to create in them “an innate desire to purchase” on a purely subconscious level.
Such was the weird science of the early 1980s.
Whether or not these musical cues actually stimulated our customer’s amygdaloidal behavior to the tune of windfall profits was unclear to me then, just as it is to me now. But what I can recall clearly was how we just-above-minimum wage employees responded to being in the presence of these sounds, day in-day out, for however long each of us worked there.
Did you ever see the film 28 Days Later? Yes? Good. That’ll make this explanation easier. Remember the opening scene, where the eco-activists broke into the animal testing laboratory to free the captive primates from their cages, but found out, too late, that these primates had been infected with some chemical cocktail “rage virus” while being subjected to image after television image of non-stop human-on-human violence? Remember what these primates then did to their liberators? And remember what would become of the world only 28 short days later?
Yeah, I wonder what all that listening to shopper stimulation music ultimately did to those of us who worked for that nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate in 1981.
Oh yeah, my actual point.
Remember when I said there’s music playing in my head right now?
I’m not so sure it’s a coincidence I thought of that music while sitting alone in a warehouse and wondering, is it really only two weeks…okay, 14 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes… till I’m free from this 20,000 square foot chimpanzee enclosure? And when I’m free, will I react like an adorable rage monkey? Because, you know, writers can be pretty adorable when they’re raging. Or will I act like Jim, the smooth-skinned, human in the story, who when awakened from a coma, must face an entire world now completely changed from the one he knew before.
Metaphorically speaking, and if you read me, you know, I’ve been in a type of coma since I started working the graveyard double-shift life last year. This awakening of sorts that’s happening in June is me, coming to grips not only with my certain past, but my uncertain future as well. I’m unsure how it’s going to go.
But I have it on reasonably good authority that it’s going to go better for me than it did for those adorable rage monkeys in the movie.
I’m about to wake up.
© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday