Here's the Scoop: Jan. 14, 2009

I can’t hear you
This may come as a huge surprise for those people who know me, but I’m kind of sensitive to “background noise.” “Foreground noise,” as well.
Because I spend a good deal of my day in a Main Street office, there’s no shortage of either type of noise. It bothers me. All of it — running engines, idle chatter, fax machines, cats stuck in snowblowers — I find annoying. Messy, too, in some cases.
The good news is, I learned the other day that such sounds no longer need to drive me bonkers. When I finished ranting and raving over yet another annoying sound, a co-worker informed me of a study has shown that bananas can provide help overcoming such sensitivities. After I got done yelling at this co-worker to stop making being so loud, I realized she was just trying to help the situation.
Who knew that such a simple solution existed to my problem?
Was it possible that some bananas would make a bunch of my problems slip away? This was very appealing. The unfortunate side effect of bananas, it appears, is an overuse of puns in one’s writing.
Of course, there are equal and opposite reactions to everything, according to the laws of physics. This would be no exception.

Good workout
As annoying as random noise is to me, it also provides a great source of exercise. After all, at least half-a-dozen times a day, I am forced to leap up from my chair and investigate the sounds that are making me nuts.
If bananas cure this problem, I have some concern that I’ll just sit at my desk all day. That can’t be good.
As I was considering the pros and cons of this situation, a truck pulled up alongside the office, the driver jumped out — and left the motor running and the stereo blaring. This was a job that I didn’t know if a whole case of bananas could solve.
But I was willing to give it a try.
I went to the store and carefully chose a few bananas that I thought would do the trick.
When I returned to the office, I began the tricky task arranging the bananas to help combat my noise issues.
Fortunately, no one was around as I tried to decide which way to apply the bananas. I was certain that I wasn’t simply supposed to stick them straight out of my ears — if you’re not supposed to do that with Q-Tips, I couldn’t see it being a good idea in this case.
So, I quickly decided that the bananas were meant to be assembled like a pilot’s headset — minus those annoying messages from the control center.

To be honest, this wasn’t working that well either. But after awhile, I was able to tuck a banana securely under both sides of a tight knit hat and arrange them so that each one covered an ear.
The good news was that this setup brought back pleasant memories of a vacation in St. Lucia. And, I’ll admit that some of the street noise was muffled by this setup. Still, it was not perfect.
As I sat trying to decide if having bananas covering my ears was worthwhile, the co-worker who told me about the bananas walked into the room. A puzzled look spread across her face.
“I know, this looks pretty odd, but it’s sort of working,” I said in a too loud voice to compensate for my own muted hearing. “But I think that cumquats would have been a better size and worked just as well.”
Imagine my embarrassment when she explained that, despite my success, that the real benefit of bananas in such a situation was eating them. It seems that the potassium in this fruit creates a reaction that makes people less sensitive to noise.
I immediately ate both bananas — hoping desperately to drown out the deafening laughter of my co-workers as word of my actions spread.