Walking down the hall at work. Think of something I need to say to Wonder Woman.
Crack the cellie. Speed-dial home is two buttons: "2" and "Send."
They beep as you press them. Number pad is an E, Send button is an A.* Completely ordinary perfect fifth, perfectly simple quarter-notes: Bink-bonk.
Nobody in his right mind would think anything more of it.
But somebody cheerfully not in his right mind, somebody whose probing thumb has played the buttons with just the right rhythmic inflection, might hear the first two notes of The Greatest Melody Ever Written, and go off down the hall singing gently to himself:
Meet the Flintstones
They're a modern stone-age fa-mi-lee...
And then completely forget what it was he wanted to tell Wonder Woman.
My cell phone is not the only thing I have this trouble with. TiVo, that masterfully designed and life-changing contraption, plays little beepy tones as you operate it. All very well -- it's often good that buttons give audible feedback as you press them, and the little melodies are quite ingeniously illustrative of the functions they invoke without being obtrusive -- imagine your computer being that feedback-intensive every time you clicked on a link in a web browser or opened a document. You'd Cheney it** in no time. But with TiVo, you don't mind.
Except when you fast forward. Let's face it -- zapping commercials is what we all crave to do, right -- the whole reason we bought the damned thing in the first place, no? Well, TiVo has invented a little punishment for the musically inclined -- perhaps the first phase of an Evil Design to prevent us from ever zipping past a commercial message again.
You can fast-forward at three speeds. The first speed, invoked with one click on the Fast-Forward button, appears to be about double real-time. This is not fast enough to satisfy the truly impatient commercial-zapper. It's the second click on the FF button that delivers the goods. Yes, you think. That's worth the extra $20 a month!
As you click the first time on the FF button, you get C-D. An interval of a major second. Two half-steps. Tinky. The second click, to the Perfect Commerce-Killing Speed, the Speed TV Executives Love to Hate, is another major second, this time D-E. Tinky. So in the hands of the experienced TiVo jockey, it becomes eighth notes, C-D, D-E, Tinky-tinky, which absolutely inevitably sets this off in the Jingo cranium:
Tinky-tinky, hello Fadder
Here I am at Camp Granada...
It's hell being me.
*I checked it in Garageband.
**Hey? You with me on this one? Huh? To Cheney something -- shoot it right in the fuckin' face! I'm a neologistic genius!