Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

May 2006


How real is reality?

A friend, not known for leg pulling, recently told me about his sister-in-law’s search for reality.

It seems she is an expert — amateur-expert, but nevertheless an expert on birds. That’s what he told me, a “bird expert.” I suppose that would mean she was a bird-watcher, good at identifying all the different species. She presumably could tell at a glance whether a robin was male, female, old or young. Experts would be able to do that sort of thing, I imagine.

Anyway, my friend’s sister-in-law is watching a golf match on television when she hears bird noises in the background as all the fans, caddies and players are stone silent to give a putter the chance to really concentrate. The only noise to be heard besides the whisper of the commentator, who was probably way out of hearing range from the action, was the chirpity-peep-peep of some birds.

She-who-knows-birds was stunned. No bird indigenous to wherever this match was being played would ever go “chirpity-peep-peep.” Presumably, you would have to travel more than a thousand miles to hear that bird sound. So naturally, she calls the network (are you believing this?) and tells them of her ear-
witness of this ornithological impossibility. 

After hemming, huhing and hawing she, according to her brother-in-law, got the network to admit to overlaying a sound track of bird noises to enhance the presentation of the golf match.

Is that your BS detector going off? Are you having a hard time believing this? Well, just suppose it’s true for a moment. If a trusted medium would trivialize a live broadcast of a sporting event with enhanced audio which only a bird lady would notice, what else is being tweaked? 

Naaah, too far-fetched. It’s easier for me to think either my friend or his in-law is putting a little shine on the morning mist.

But you do believe me, right? My friend did tell me that.