I am always discovering new sounds.
Not that I actually hear them, mind you. My audiologist tells me that I miss more than 70% of the sounds heard by normal humans, so there actually is quite a bit that don’t hear. And since I’ve been this way since birth, not only do I not hear a lot of sounds, in many cases, I’m not even aware that something makes a sound.
For example, it was not terribly long ago that I discovered that fluorescent lights hum. A student told me that it was so quiet that he could hear the lights. I thought that he was kidding, but confirmed later that they actually do make sounds.
Another recent discovery is that birds make a lot of noise. My wife was complaining about how the racket wakes her up every morning. I’ve always heard that birds sing, but didn’t realize that they did it constantly. I had always imagined that it was a once-in-a-while sort of thing.
Apparently the crickets keep her awake at night, too.
Birds in the morning. Crickets at night. I’m glad I can get a decent uninterrupted night’s sleep.
All in all, I live in a rather peaceful world. Little (or not so little) noises that drive other people crazy have absolutely no effect on me. Kids chewing gum in class? Can’t hear them. Cell phones? Nope. Paper rustling. Chalk on a blackboard. Rain on the roof. People whispering during my backswing. I can’t hear any of those. I enjoy the silence.
My latest discovery came on the golf course. I had just finished making a putt when my playing partner noted that my putter made a nice sound.
“Different?” I asked.
“Different from mine,” he said.
I quizzed him a bit more and found something that I hadn’t really considered: that putters make distinctly different sounds.
Now, I know that drivers and irons make different sounds, because I can hear different types of thuds (I realize that the rest of you are hearing more musical tones). And I know that putters make some sort of noise because manufacturers are always touting the sound dampening qualities of their materials.
But for some reason it never occurred to me that they were tonally different. I just thought it was a matter of different volumes of a “clink” (whatever a “clink” sounds like).
It makes sense, of course. Different materials in different shapes will create different resonance. But it never occurred to me before. What I can’t hear, I don’t notice.
So here’s what I’ve decided that I want: A putter that makes the most insufferable sound imaginable. I won’t be able to hear it, but maybe it will annoy my opponents and give me an advantage in match play.