My tics fall into three broad categories. First, the regular tics I say hundreds of times every day. Second, the occasional tics that I’ll say only once or a handful of times. These two categories have already been discussed. I haven’t yet talked about the third type that are intense explosions of themed tics which come out over a short period of time with fearsome force. These are sometimes triggered by hearing or seeing something specific, but often occur for no apparent reason. These outbursts are unpredictable and happen only every couple of months. They can last from 10 minutes to a few hours and are so overwhelming that it’s hard to do or say anything else while they’re going on.
During these explosive ticcing sessions a number of different tics will come out that are linked by a theme, tune or sound. One or two of these tics might hang around and become regulars. I’m currently saying, “There’s a squirrel in your pants”, which is a remnant of one such episode.
Today I had one of these explosive events after I heard the final Touretteshero track made by Cassetteboy. It featured the opening bars of the ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ theme tune which, for international readers and those born after 1990, was a UK TV programme which involved a sinister old man in a tracksuit making the wishes of young viewers who had written to him come true.
It was no accident that a snippet of Jim’s theme had been included in the track. Cassetteboy had carefully sampled sounds that I’d said I was particularly sensitive to. Hearing this track sparked an involuntary reworking of the theme tune that I repeated continuously over the next two hours. It went like this:
“One letter is only the start of it – badly written.”
“One letter – and then he wanks on your shoe.”
“One letter – never answered.”
“And you, and you and, ba, ba, ba.”
“One letter – and then the bailiffs know where you live.”
“One letter is only the start of it – possible rape victim.”
“Jim’ll fix it – if you’re pretty.”
“Jim’ll fix it – if you’re vulnerable.”
“Jim’ll fix it – if you’re parents don’t care enough to save you.”
“Jim doesn’t fix it for most people.”
“Not you or you or ba, ba, ba.”
It’s important to note that as with everything else I tic, this is not based on fact, evidence or repressed childhood experiences.
The power of certain sounds is something I don’t understand and some days I seem more sensitive to things that I hear than others. I suspect this is linked to Echolalia, which is a fairly common feature of Tourettes and other neurological conditions, which involves repeating noises or phrases made by other people. My sensitivity to certain sounds recently resulted in a change of hymn at Laura’s wedding.