When I was ten years old, I used to think that I had a crazy uncle.
He would pretend to wrestle snapping turtles out of the lake, he’d shoot bats at night in the backyard and he would sell cotton balls on paper plates during the day in Central Park claiming that they had the ability to tune you into this one of a kind, amazing station….
I know now why my mother would never let me stay at my cousin’s house for any extended period of time.
But on one rare visit, with prison-like supervision, I happened to catch a glimpse of his wares that were laid out and all ready to go. I watched with an open mouth as he cotton stuffed both of his ears, closed his eyes and proceeded to tap one foot gently up and down.
Could there be any truth to the cotton balls? Was my mother the one who was crazy?
Not being able to contain myself, I asked “What are you listening to?” and picked up some fallen cotton balls for closer inspection.
“W.Y.O.U.” he replied not even opening an eye at my half curious half incredulous ten year old tone.
“W.Y.O.U.?” I wondered if my Aunt was aware of his severe sanity limitations.
"What are you talking about? There is no such station.” Glad to be the one to finally state the obvious.
Maybe it just took a kid to set him straight. Wouldn’t my family be proud?
“But of course there is” he replied calm as you please and reached out to hand me two fresh cotton balls “Go on. Try them”
Darting a sneaky glance left and right to ensure that my mother wasn’t watching, I shoved a fat white cushy ball in each ear and waited for….well….something.
“I don’t hear anything” my own disappointed voice echoed in my head
“Oh yes you do” My crazuncle insisted. “Shhh…Just listen”
I knew he was nuts. How could I have even questioned my poor sweet mother?
Fifty-five seconds later. “Nope still nothing” I declared victoriously.
“EXACTLY!” He announced sharply.
Should I run?
“When you tune out the world, you listen to the best station around W.Y.O.U. It is the only way to hear yourself clearly without any interruption. Isn’t it amazing?”
Oh yes, how do you keep ample stock of such a precious commodity?
More so, how do you answer a crazy yet beloved uncle without offending his non-sensibilities?
I know!!! I know!!! How about by growing up to be just like him?
No, I don’t sell cotton balls on paper plates in the park but I do listen to the sounds of W.Y.O.U. quite often. And truthfully, I prefer it to any rap station that’s out there these days.
My only variation is that I prefer W.Y.O.U. AM (After Margaritas) and we’ve all seen how that can turn out…. but that won’t stop me!
Still the listening pleasure is free and blares for a solid eight to twelve hours a day.
Go ahead. Try it. You know you want to.
W.Y.O.U….do you hear it??