I Know Why The Caged Bird is Silent Sometimes


A few weeks ago I started working for a retirement home. It was starting to weigh on our minds that we didn’t have the income, so I got hard into searching, and finally found a good place to go. I spend a good amount of time in what seems like every corner of the building, multiple times throughout my shift as part of my duties, and while doing my duties I have plenty of time to think. The other day, i had a strange thought that never crossed me before.

I have a clear understanding that, God willing, I’ll make it to an age where it is necessary for my child (or children) to house me in such a place. Where the walls are painted soft colors, the food is just about average, and I’m seemingly cared for hand and foot by people trained to keep me alive as long as possible. My clothing will be washed for me, I need not grab a tool when things break, and my primary concern is just livin’ comfy. But there is one thing that makes up the most of their day that I’m not sure most of us have ever considered when thinking about ourselves in this position.

The silence is deafening.

Not that it’s overly quiet, there is still the usual conversation and ambient noise going on. but 90% of what you hear is all generated from the small, yet numerous speakers installed in the ceiling. The music of the generation that resides in this place echo’s through the hallways. The voices of the greats like Sinatra, and the horns of countless early jazz bands resound on an endless playlist reminiscent of pre and post World War II radio. It’s a typical retirement home staple, a little environmental addition to top off the entire experience. But is it really what they want? Is it really making it better?

The one thing we always here, and always do, is hum or sing the music that we love. That tune which we can never forget, that touches our soul, that we’ll never get sick of, is the tune we’ll always sing along to when we hear it. From the first note it reaches into us an rips out our inner voice that can never be silenced, and honest to goodness, I rarely hear a song cross their lips.

Whatever caused this, whether sorrow for good times long past, or they are just sick and tired of hearing the same songs over and over again for the past 70 odd years, I’ve given it some consideration as to my own life.

What will they play when I am old? What will be played through the speakers that they sit my wheelchair in front of? What amalgamation of music will batter what is left of my eardrums till the day I finally pass? If the trend continues, I can imagine what it will be, and I hope you all can see it as I do, and feel my pain.

Green Day. Blink 182. Phish. Brittany Spears. NSYNC. Backstreet Boys. O-Town. Creed. Godsmack. Nirvana. Nickleback. Endless soundtracks from popular YouTube sensations. A disturbing collection of the vile nonsense that brought us from the 90’s into the first years of the new Millennium.

That’s just fine with me.

There are some saving graces in the world of music that has been laid out during my lifetime, but god willing they will not be touted as the others will be. I would rather they not be brought down to the level of non-enjoyment by lumping it in with the filth that is played over and over again. There are some memories that, no matter how aged we become, we should keep just for us, lest they be withered down by the time that passes and the mouths that speak of it.

I know why the caged bird is silent sometimes, because his song may become a dead horse, that will be beaten till the day he dies.


-B.K. Mullen


3 thoughts on “I Know Why The Caged Bird is Silent Sometimes”

  1. Strange thoughts here. Those must be some long shifts.
    My wife’s aunt is in a home and it seems like they are always in a big room watching tv. I don’t know how much they are actually watching or if it just plays and residents vaguely watch.

    1. Whether if they are in their room or in the living room or wherever, they’re pretty much always in front of the tv. The only people i think actually watch the thing and give it much thought are on the dementia unit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s