I was out on the grill cooking up some kabobs last night.
Listening to the sounds of sizzle, the juices falling off the meat and hitting the coals, I started thinking about how much I love cooking on the BBQ. Then I remembered that old Kramer line from Seinfeld when he had that fake office job, he comes out of the meeting room in his suit, briefcase in hand, and one of the guys says “Great job in there K-man” and he says “You know what they say you don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.”
I started laughing and shaking my head at how funny that was. Then I started thinking about all of the subtle, underrated sounds I enjoy in my life. So in the spirit of that, let’s break it down.
10. The sound a 2-liter bottle of soda makes when it’s opened for the first time: I don’t buy many two liters of soda these days, but I remember that sound as a kid. You have the plastic cup standing by, there’s probably some pizza or an outside activity involved. Then the twist and the shhhssshhhhhh sound. When you’re a kid you’re so excited to get in there and drink your cola. The sound hits and it’s a bonus every time.
9. The aforementioned sound of kabobs, burgers, steaks on the grill: It usually reaches its climax when the beef is flipped over.
8. The sound of the golf ball perfectly struck off the tee by a driver: Not the sound of a professional doing it, that gets old. The sound of any number of amateurs I play with, including myself, doing it once or twice in 18 tries is best. It’s so much better when it’s unexpected.
7. The long instrumental intro to a great song: It gives you that great feeling of anticipation knowing you have 3-5 minutes of belting out the lyrics, or relaxing, and listening to your favorite song in the very near future. It’s got to be one with a decent length of musical intro to set the mood before the lyrics appear. My favorites are Elton John: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Roxette: Fading Like A Flower, Billy Joel: Piano Man, and by far the best example Bon Jovi: Living On A Prayer.
6. The sound of exhale at the end of the night: When I’m finished with my day, and have just put the last kid to bed and done the last chore or annoying thing that needs to be done around the house, and I crawl onto the bed, stretch my feet out and exhale. Often it’s the only chance I’ve had to relax that day. The sounds of silence after that are so satisfying.
5. The sound a Coke makes when poured into a styrofoam cup of ice: You have to pour the entire Coke into that cup all at once, then sit back and listen to the ice cubes pop and the fizz of the cola crescendo. On a hot day, sitting in a chair outside, relaxing…It’s the perfect exclamation point.
4. The sound a circular saw makes in the garage or shop when it just gets done cutting that block of wood and winds down to a stop: Makes you feel like a real man doesn’t it? Similar to flipping that burger or steak on the grill and hearing the juices hit the coals. You get to admire your finished cut, while your saw gives you that little added dimension of satisfaction with a 3-4 second wind down of sound before it shuts off.
3. The sound of shuffling poker chips: You know you got your man right where you want him. He just fired out another shell on the turn and there’s no hand that beats you. You go into the tank and act as if you have a big decision, all the while shuffling your poker chips. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Make your man think you have a decision to make, when all you’re really trying to figure out is if he’s on a stone-cold bluff or if he’s got a hand he’s willing to die with. You shuffle the chips a few more times, and put out the call. Music to my ears.
2. The sound of a baseball hitting a wooden bat during an MLB game: This is an extremely underrated sound, but so good. It’s so much better at a game in person, but also great on TV. When I’m watching the Twins, there aren’t many times I can just sit and give the game 3 hours of my undivided attention. So I’ll turn the volume up while I’m doing other things and I always find myself whipping around to see what happened after hearing the crack of the bat. It’s the catalyst of everything in baseball, the action doesn’t really start until you hear that sound. In fact, it’s so stimulating, old time baseball radio broadcasters used to whack two sticks together to simulate that sound right before calling out exactly what happened to the listener. As showcased in the all-time classic Bull Durham.
1. The sound my son Harrison makes when he falls asleep on my chest: When we’re winding down the night, after I’ve run him around like crazy all day, he fights off the sleep for a little while as we watch tv, but pretty soon after he succumbs. When he’s laying on my chest, within the first couple minutes of sleep, breathing the way he does (sort of a miniature version of how his dad and grandpa huff and puff in their sleep) right before I take him up to his bed. It’s a billion dollar feeling. That sound always triggers that feeling for me.