"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God." -St Irenaeus of Lyon

When conversations turn shrill

I have had all sorts of responsibilities in my life that require me to wear a whistle.  At one time or another, I have been a crossing guard, a lifeguard or a coach.  I generally like wearing a whistle, because it is one of the quickest ways to get someone’s attention when you really need to do it.  At times, I have been known to catch “whistle envy” where one indescribably desires the feel of a whistle around one’s neck.

The whistle affords a certain power, as we generally pay deference to its warning call.  However, do we pay attention because we assume that something important is going to happen or because we want the thick sound of annoyance to stop?

Yet it seems that some conversations happen as people desire to use the shrillness of a whistle as a standard tone of speech.  My own attitude towards the shrill conversations is to back away and find people who seem to be more interested in having a conversation than simply being the loudest whistle in the room.

What do you think?  Do conversations turn shrill because of their importance, because of someone’s desire to be heard, or a bit of both?

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One response

  1. Reader John

    I think that looks like a real Acme Thunderer whistle, made in England. Wonder what I did with mine? (Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Brain is fried. No good vacation goes unpunished.)

    Trying to address your question, I think conversations turn shrill in part because the infotainment media has modeled shrillness as how discussions of public affairs should go down.

    19 August 2010 at 9:18 pm

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