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Of wives, sprites and Bob Seger

Now that all the other problems of the world have been solved, we need a group of volunteers to stay up all night to guard against the sprites who go around turning up the volume on car radios.

This is a serious social issue.



You come home. You park the car. You might have been listening to the car radio, but it was no big deal. You paid it no mind as you exited the car.




Your wife goes out the next morning. She gets in the car. She turns the ignition. She is blasted by the sounds of that station that appears to play All Bob Seger, All The Time … Less Talk, More Bob Seger … Your 100 Percent Bob Seger Station!

As she staggers back into the house to take some ibuprofen, your wife wants to know what you were thinking.

You answer truthfully: A. You don’t remember what you were listening to when you came home last night, but she ought to know you well enough to realize you’re not a person who would willingly listen to the All Bob Seger, All the Time Station. B. It didn’t seem all that loud.

Your wife shakes her head sadly as she heads back to the car, where she gingerly reaches inside to turn down the volume before starting the car anew.

It’s not your fault, you know. It’s the sprites. They go around at night, turning up car radios. They change the dial from stations that play Uplifting Discussions of Current Events Conducted by Reasonable People to stations devoted entirely to Spanish-language commercials for furniture stores. It’s the sprites that cause all the trouble.

So you don’t believe in sprites? There’s only one other answer that can be supported by logic: You progressively grow more deaf as you drive. If we could get a grant to videotape several hundred drivers this is what we would see:

Every four or five miles, a driver who is alone in a car will reach over and turn up the volume by a 16th of a turn. This occurs even though all other variables – the speed of the car, the rumble of the tires against the roadway, the atmospheric conditions – remain unchanged.

Although most solitary drivers will respond to the demand to serve as an Honorary Pip when Gladys Knight comes on the radio – “A star … a superstar, but he didn’t get far” – and this service as Pip demands that the volume be turned up, data suggests that the increase in car-radio volume substantially exceeds what we would expect to find from the Pip phenomena.

Once this problem is solved, we’ll move along to the next problem: Why do you turn down the volume whenever you come to a tricky intersection?

John Seelmeyer is editor of The Union, and his column appears on Saturday.


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