By Tom Cardella
In our infinite appetite for the trivia of life, America has gone bonkers over an internet hearing test known as “yanny or laurel.” In case you’ve spent the last few weeks on Europa and are not familiar with the phenomenon, the test consists of listening to a voice speak one word to determine whether you hear “yanny”or “laurel.” “Yanny” or “laurel” is now the subject of intense debate.
I took the test and clearly heard “yanny.” Fran says it’s a wonder I heard anything. “You mean you didn’t ask the voice to repeat itself? Wonder of wonders,” is how I believe she put it (I’m not certain because I asked her to repeat herself and she steadfastly refused). Fran is skeptical of this test. “Skeptical” being her baptismal name. I’m sure she would claim to hear “Laurel” just to be obstinate.
Uncle Nunzi took the test and swears he heard “provolone.” “Why would the voice keep saying ‘provolone’,” is how I believe he put it. (I’m not certain because I asked him to repeat himself and like my wife he steadfastly refused). One of my friends heard both words because he claims to hear everything twice. Sort of like Yossarian in CATCH-22 who saw everything twice.
I am more interested in the origin of the test than in the results. Did some auditory scientist (is there such an occupation?) come up with this test, and if so, what exactly is it supposed to prove? Does whether you hear “yanny” or “laurel” tell us anything about our political leanings? For instance, I heard that Trump supporters are more likely to favor biscuits and gravy as opposed to brie and white wine. I don’t believe in those kinds of stereotypes. In fact, when I’ve been especially hungry, I’ve been known to drink white win with biscuits and gravy.
Many politicians are secretly taking the audio test but are reluctant to tell us what they hear for fear of alienating half of their voters. For example, in our 5th congressional district, it is rumored that most of us hear “yanny.” In the la-di-da areas of Montgomery and Delaware counties, voters are more likely to hear the more elegant sounding “laurel.” I understand that Donald Trump kept hearing “Mueller” when he took the test. Kellyanne had to help him access the internet.
I figure the difference in what we hear is based upon the range of our hearing. Some of us have difficulty hearing sounds in the lower register. Until my wife corrected me, I thought Pavarotti was a soprano. Fran keeps saying, “I told you that you need a hearing aid. Desperately.” I claimed I couldn’t hear her. Husbands are very good at selective hearing.
What puzzles me is that yanny and laurel don’t sound anything alike. Is the reason I couldn’t get a reservation at LAUREL because I tried to book YANNY on OPEN TABLE? I don’t think so. If I wanted ALEXA to play selections by the Greek composer and musician Yanni, I wouldn’t say, “Alexa, play songs by Laurel.” Actually, I don’t own an Amazon Echo. I’m afraid Alexa would refuse me and I hate feeling rejected. And even if I owned an Echo, I certainly would not be asking her to play Yanni. I suspect Yanni’s music is the eternal soundtrack that sounds celestial but is played in Hell to annoy the unrepentant. Note: Yanni’s real name is Yiannis Chryssomallis. It is reported that a reporter (I think it must’ve been Chris Cuomo) once asked Yanni why he changed his name. Yanni supposedly responded so that folks could wonder in later years whether it was his name or laurel they heard on the internet.
People have told me that President Trump is giving the auditory illusion test to his staff to determine their loyalty. All of them, except for Scott Pruitt, claimed they heard “Trump” when they took the internet test. In a moment of candor, Pruitt admitted he heard “money.” Editor’s note: It is not true that a couple of wise guys downtown heard “moolah.” For the younger generation, “moolah” is slang for money — bitcoin to you.
We administered the test to other public figures. Surprisingly none of them heard either yanny or laurel proving that celebs are indeed a different breed. As yet another public service to devoted readers of this column (all two of you), I share the results:
Congressman Bob Brady — “retire”
Union leader John Dougherty — “Scanlon”
Mayor Jim Kenney — “rebuild”
Chef Jose Garces — “bankrupt”
Council President Darrel Clark — “quota”
Former DA Seth Williams — “repent”
Current DA Larry Krassner — “justice”
Eagles broadcaster Merrill Reese — “It’s gooood”
Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson — “repeat”
Flyers GM Ron Hextall — “goalie”
Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler — “Nola”
Sixers Coach Brett Brown — “process”
America’s teachers — “pay up”
Senator John McCain — “hero”
Congressional Republicans — “cowards”
Democrats — “impeach”
Yanni — “yanny”
Nicholas Elmi restaurant owner — “Laurel”
Harry, Duke of Sussex — “Meghan”
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — “Harry”
Stu Bykovsky, Daily News columnist — “bike lane”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner — “trumper”
Governor Tom Wolf — “shale tax”
Trump Attorney Michael Cohen — “jail time”
Former Director of the FBI James Comey — “revenge”
Porn star Stormy Daniels — see James Comey
Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti — “ha ha”
My wife finally agreed to take the test and claims that she heard, “Tiffany’s.” I told her Tiffany’s has too many syllables. She responded, “so does the word disappointment.”