I spent my freshman year of high school at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, and took Latin from Father Zimecki, who by that time was old enough that Latin might have been his native tongue. The day before the start of Christmas vacation, Mr. Raispis, the principal (who was also a Latin teacher) came in and informed us that Father had fallen ill and had to be taken to the hospital, and that he would be conducting class that day. He then handed out printed sheets of paper and said, “Today we’ll learn to sing Christmas carols in Latin!”
Now, we had all grown up when the Catholic Church was still conducting Mass in Latin, and we already had some experience singing Christmas carols in Latin (e.g. Adeste Fidelis, “O Come All Ye Faithful”) but the song we were given was called Tinnitus, better known to one and all as “Jingle Bells.” Now, the only line from that I remember was “Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus!” and I wanted to share the song with you. And I found it, or at least a different (and possibly better) translation of it, translated and sung by Dr. Keith Massey.
Speaking of tinnitus (changing gears to talk about the medical condition “ringing in the ears”), I have one hell of a case of it. I have to run white noise most of the night to block it out. I asked my doctor about it, and he said that it was possible that I had arthritis in the ossicles, the three little bones in my ears (the malleus, incus, and stapes, or the “hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup”), and there really wasn’t much I could do about it that I wasn’t already doing. I heard another explanation that it might be the sound of the blood rushing through my carotid arteries on its way to the brain. In that case, I’m pretty happy I have it in both ears, because that means my carotids are clear and I won’t have to have the surgery to unblock them. Some company is advertising ear drops that allegedly will stop it, but at this point, I think if I didn’t hear the ringing, I’d miss it.
If I don’t see you before next Tuesday, Merry Christmas!
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from McDonald’s. Give McDonald’s gift certificates for Christmas, only $0.50 each or a book of ten for $5.00!