Volume of Life

Life needs volume controls. If you’ve ever had an eight year old, been near an eight year old, or been an eight year old, yourself, you know exactly what I mean. I’ve tried the TV remote, mashing the button, repeatedly, while pointing its blinking red light at the boy, then mashing the button harder, and harder, all to no avail.

He just shouted, “WHATCHA DOING, DAD?”

He shouts everything he says.

On bath night, I checked his back for a volume knob of some sort, or maybe a mute button, whilst he roared, loudly, like a bubble-covered Spinosaurus. No such utility was found. The acoustic quality of Ceramic Tile and Formica bathrooms is stunningly impressive.

It doesn’t seem possible that a person of a mere four feet in height could achieve such earsplitting volumes. Every thought I might dare to pursue does, indeed, need to be pursued as it flees in terror from the piercingly loud siren sounds, stepping on pointy, green army men as it runs, tripping over motion-activated robots, which whir to life, beeping, and making Zap-Zap laser sounds, my fleeing thoughts looking back only to urgently ask, ”What the fuck was THAT?!”

Any volume setting above “6” on the television causes male pattern baldness in men over the age of 40. It’s been documented. The only exceptions to be made are for Batman movies, because Batman whispers a lot. As the boy reaches for the three remotes required to operate a modern television, each with 50 small, rubber buttons, whose intended purpose is marked in small, white print which is only visible by powerful electron microscope, or by eight year old children, who ignore all but the volume-up button, I ask him, remindingly, what the maximum volume setting should be.

“Six, Dad.” He responds, in oddly quiet tone.

As yellow cartoon characters bounce and jiggle, like lemon Jello, the volume creeps up, shaken, as the TV, itself, begins to jump around on the stand. The windows rattle, and my old, deaf dogs begin to bark, an insistent, staccato, canine inquiry, demanding to know, ”What the fuck was THAT?!”

Tonight, he’s at a sleepover– 6 or 7 eight year olds, are making the noise of 100, but they are doing it elsewhere. It sure is quiet around here, strangely quiet. I kick at a toy dinosaur, gently, just to hear it roar, like the boy does. The batteries are dead.


Holy shit this is old. He’s 11 now. Still loud tho..

26 Replies to “Volume of Life”

  1. Hi from Manan. This was such a fantastic write. The reference to Batman made me laugh hard. I have a 4 year old. Should I start getting paranoid about what lies in store? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omfg! I have an 8 y.o. So I can so fucking relate. I’m in tears, with laughter… My coworkers can’t understand why I’m crying. I tried to read your post and they’re calling the men in white suits and that special coat that keeps me safe, so that’s what they tell me.
    Oh, my! I need to read this later when I’m not crying! Great post!
    ❤️ Tiffany

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Next time he yells, don’t react. When he hollers for you again, look quizzically around the room then at him and ask “did you say something?” When he yells yes (and he will yell) say “sorry it’s too loud in here, I couldn’t hear you”. Always worked for me lol

    Liked by 1 person

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