This is how you get ants

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The headline of this column is an allusion to a funny bit from the show Archer, that has taken on a new life as an Internet meme — a way to express a cultural idea through a commonly understood piece of language or imagery.

“Do you want ants? Because that’s how you get ants.”

Well, this particular meme came to mind Friday night while Billy Ocean’s 1984 hit song ‘Loverboy’ was peeling the first few layers of epidermis from my unprotected face as it crackled maliciously through the PA system of Dryden Memorial Arena during the DHS Eagles Boys playoff game.

A decibel meter app I’d downloaded to my phone just a few minutes prior in an effort to gauge my discomfort, revealed peak noise levels of just over 100 decibels with an average of around 90 decibels.

While I wouldn’t bet my first-born on the accuracy of a free smartphone app, it helped put the experience in perspective. Hearing loss (depending on your length of exposure) starts to be a concern around 85 decibels.

Now, I’m not some shrinking violet. I’ve played the drums pretty much every day for the past 27 years. Recent hearing tests indicate I have the ears of man 15-20 years older than I am.

I’ve been a fool. I’ve bumbled my way through life with little heed for the damage I’ve done to myself either on a stage or in front of one — many of those experiences nowhere near as painful as that sound issuing from those arena speakers.

My point is that our society tends to respond in a regulatory manner to things that aren’t taking care of themselves via common sense (no longer as common as you think), altruism or good old fashioned shame (now referred to as ‘victim blaming’).

It’s why we have food inspectors, a Safe Water Act, building codes, smoking bans, and more recently things like provincial regulations around what kinds of food can be sold in school cafeterias.

Control over noise levels in public spaces is one of those things that is largely governed by common sense. I don’t speak for everyone, but pain is generally accepted to be a bad thing.

Do we want a provincial inspector to monitor all of our cultural events to ensure we’re not hurting people en masse? Or could you maybe turn it down?

Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants.

— Chris Marchand

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