Thursday, February 10, 2005
GlossolaliaI am so empassioned about this subject that I almost created www.glossolalia.blogspot.com. On that page I would have put very provocative headlines, like "Why we Really attacked Iraq." Then the body of each message would be ... well ... gibberish. Funny stuff, but not a good enough joke to keep an entire blog on its feet. Anyway, my relationship with glossolalia began when I was a lad. Being part of the Foursquare Church, we learned early on that you could be "filled with the Holy Spirit" and speak in tongues. My entire family began speaking in tongues after attending an evangelical "healing service" held by Charles and Francis Hunter. A quick websearch finds them still alive, still "The Happy Hunters" and still in the ministry! Wow. My initial experience with them was 30 Freakin' years ago, and they were old then. But I digress. Speaking in tongues is a form of glossolalia. The only difference is that people who speak in tongues actually think they are saying something to somebody somewhere. After breaking with my religion, it was many years before I could even scat-sing, because it's closeness to tongue-talking left me paralyzed with spooky feelings from my past. Trust me … a “message in tongues” in a church full of 500 people is spooky. Especially since, while one person rattles off ecstatic gibberish, a hush falls over the crowd so that one person can listen and be given the “interpretation” from the Holy Spirit. Wow, it’s hard to believe I actually bought that crap at one point I my life. BUT … I’m happy to say that glossolalia is back in my life, and in full form once again. It all began with my cat Frida.
"Blurpity!" Frida is quite talkative, you see, and it occurred to me one day that the physical structure of a cat's mouth disallows it from making any sound other than vowels and a few smattering of other sounds. So while she says “Mwuuuurrrr,” what she really means is “Blurrrrpity.” The word “Blurpity” was the first. Since then, I’ve discovered many other words Frida utters. And lately, I’m finding that on my drives home from work, I think about greeting my cat, and many words of glossolalia emit from my mouth. There is something freeing about the practice of saying utter gibberish to no one. It's probably a form of meditation that the buddhists tapped into long ago. After all, how much fun could there be to have under a boddhi tree? Might as well imbibe in a little glossolalia. And now when I scat sing, I find similar words emitting from my maw. While most people sing “la la, dum deed um.” I sing “Blurpit flurrrp sclurpity Zowww.” I wonder if, as I get older, I am becoming … ummm … not so sane. I care not.