Act III New Rules


The theater is empty….

and dark…

save for the Ghost Light at center stage.


There have been many reasons cited for the always present Ghost Light in an empty theater, and among them is the idea that the theater will always be “lit”….simply waiting for the actors and their stories to resume. They will be back shortly.

I like that one.

So that is where we are in Covid Times. While the Earth stills spins, it feels like the axis has shifted. Things are just different. New Rules.

Of course while the stage is empty, the narrative disrupted, my hearing saga nonetheless unfolds.

In mid-March I got in and out of Kansas City with the last audiology appointment at KUMC before the rules changed and the clinic shut down for non-emergent patients.

I got my long-awaited second processor for my Implant. It’s the latest iteration from Med-El (hence the wait). Better software; dual microphones; wireless connectivity to phones etc.

The last part is my most embraced…allows me to stream music directly to my implant. Now for some serious musical brain training.

The curriculum? My chosen syllabus is a bunch of music from the 60’s and 70’s. Music that I listened to maybe hundreds of times….drilled into my music memory. When I listen to it now, I literally can sense my brain remembering what it is “supposed” to sound like..and what the lyrics are……….and then trying to reconcile that memory with what my brain is actually “hearing” via the implanted electrodes.

If I am honest, they are still very different…the memory and the music. But that’s why the training. I am hoping that if I work at it, I can bring those two sound waves a lot closer together. And lord knows I’ve got some time right now to work on it.

Here’s some of what’s on my first playlist


Hotel California-Eagles

Pet Sounds-Beach Boys

Wednesday Morning 3AM-Simon/Garfunkel

Rubber Soul-Beatles

Led Zepplin IV

Tapestry- King

Wee Small Hours-Sinatra

Songs of Leonard Cohen


And then there is an album I consider one of the most inspired music and lyrics works of all time….Graceland- Simon.

I sat myself in an easy chair when I returned from KC and fired up Graceland.

Soon I was eyes closed, hearing and understanding lyrics distinct from the music for the first time in 20yrs. I found myself hearing both the remembered sounds and the implant sounds. Could sense my brain trying to reconcile them. Realized my fingers were tapping out the rhythms on the arms of the chair…and happily trying to sing along under my breath.

New Rules. My world may very well have music back in it.

Work to do, but to quote Paul Simon….”…the roots and rhythms remain