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Name That Tune

04/16/05 12:00AM By Ken Sheldon
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(HOST) Commentator Ken Sheldon suffers from a rare disorder...or maybe we should say that say that Ken's wife suffers from it.


(SHELDON) When I was first married, my wife and I lived next door to a farm. Most mornings, the farm's rooster woke us up with a rendition of "Cock-a-doodle-doo", performed in the traditional manner: "Err err-err err-errrrrr," with the final note fading away in a dramatic decrescendo.

One morning, however, we were awakened by a distinctly different tune. Apparently, the regular rooster was on vacation because some new bird was performing the morning matinee, and he was putting the accents in all the wrong places. His crow went, "Err err err-err errrr," which was the wrong tune, though I recognized it from somewhere. I listened to it a few more times, then nudged my still-sleeping wife and said, "We're In the Money."

Without opening her eyes, she said, "Huh?"

"I said, 'We're In the Money.'"

One eye cracked open. "We are?"

I nodded towards the farm. "Doesn't that rooster sound like he's crowing the beginning to 'We're In the Money'?"

She listened, groaned, and pulled the covers over her head - her way of saying, "You're right, but how do you come up with these things, and why do you have to come up with them at 6 o'clock in the morning?"

The answer to that question is, I can't help it. Some people suffer from tinnitus, which means they hear ringing in their ears. I have tunitus; I hear songs everywhere I go.

Tunitus is a strange disease because you never know when it will hit you. For example, when our toaster is done toasting bread, it makes a noise that, to most people, probably sounds like "Pop-up." To me, it sounds like the first two notes of the Colonel Bogie March. (You know, the theme to "The Bridge Over the River Kwai", the one the prisoners whistle as they march out to work on the bridge.)

Then there's my computer. When I turn it on, it clicks and whirs to the tune of "Give My Regards to Broadway". I mentioned this to my wife, who gave me her "Oh, sure" look until I demonstrated it for her.

"You're right, it does sound like 'Give My Regards to Broadway'," she said - and proceeded to remove all sharp objects from within my reach.

Recently, our six-year-old car developed arthritis of the front axle. Every time we went around a corner, the car made a noise that sounded like, "Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat-tat-tat." Of course, if you have tunitus, you'll instantly recognize that as the main theme from the "William Tell Overture", also known as the Lone Ranger's theme song. I mentioned this to my wife, who suggested that the car was merely pleading to go "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump-dump-dump."

Nobody knows what causes tunitus, though some think it may come from watching too many old movies as a child. There is no known cure, and there doesn't seem to be much interest in finding one, since the people who have tunitus don't really suffer from it.

It's the people who are married to them that suffer.

I'm Ken Sheldon of Hancock, NH.

Ken Sheldon is an author, singer and songwriter.
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