Golden Ratios and Golden Rules

Swinging jazz dances from Abbey's Pub and floats up into Jersey City's cobalt blue sky. Two men stand near a white rental van.

"Other than Charlie [Hansen]," says one to the other, "you're the only guy in the industry to see me topless."

True story. It happened yesterday at about 8pm, I suppose, just after dinner. Yes, just after dinner. The two men were Stephen Mejias, assistant editor of Stereophile magazine, and Steve Silberman, sales manager for high-end electronics manufacturer, Ayre Acoustics.

The writer colors the scene for you here in an attempt to disclose the intimacy of the event — a meeting between journalist and subject.

Q: Why?
A: Because the writer wants to earn your trust.

Do you remember the very first simple thoughts this writer ever shared? The words were:

I figure, if this relationship is going to work — and I really do want it to work — you're going to have to trust me. Or, perhaps I should say, I'm going to have to win your trust.

The writer still believes this; he believes in the power and beauty of trust. He has not lost sight of himself or of his goals, though, at times, he does struggle. The writer is familiar with his own thoughts and motivations. To some degree, at least, we must qualify — after all, the writer also believes that the mind is a mysterious and complicated thing. He has much to learn. Besides and beyond everything, the writer is respectfully aware of the fact that there will be those who question his integrity. He doesn't like to be questioned. But through therapy and love, he is learning to accept questioning and to respond in a productive manner. He is practicing this right now, as a matter of fact.

The writer — duh — is me. I'll cool it with the intellectualizing, knock a hole into this wall separating me from you, place a dent in the silver box surrounding true emotion with cold logic.

I must tell you, then:
The amplifier was damaged during shipment. It took a terrible hit, knocking its screws loose, jarring its binding posts, and scarring its casework with a smooth concavity.

A pity, really. For reals: What if this unintentional and faultless bruising had not only impacted the amplifier's fine looks and build quality, but, more importantly, its performance? How would I, innocent writer — having never heard the amplifier and having very little experience with Ayre gear — know if the amp was functioning as it should?

I wouldn't. Good thing, then, that Steve Silberman was there. We were able to piece everything together and take a good listen. He did have a shirt on at this point, by the way. I now have every reason to believe that the amp sitting in my living room is perfectly powerful, despite getting roughed up. Steve went through his usual routine. Thus, my apartment is now an afterpartied mess of cardboard boxes and Ayre Myrtle Blocks. Speaker cables are magically situated, floating above the floor in beautiful harmony with all sorts of Golden Ratios, which I won't pretend to understand, and Golden Rules, which I try to utilize at every corner and bend. There are bottle caps all over the kitchen. The limited knowledge that I can impart to you, dear reader, will be aided by Steve's guidance. And beer. Yes, and beer.

It's most important for me to remember our audience. I'm writing for no one but the reader. People may give me shit about reveling in the beauty of human nature, lingering in the sunshiny glory of the perfect body, sinking headfirst into all that is salty and sweet, sacrificing the blue-gray pointed-edged technical for the mossy woolen visceral, letting the breaking news shatter while trying to capture the fluttering hands — yeah, I can be all gamboling lambs and fluffy clouds, rainbows and butterflies — but:

I will always be true. In the name of Stereophile, I will always be true. With integrity and honesty, I will respect the reader. With thoroughness, I will respect the product. With diplomacy, I will respect the manufacturer. With faith in my ever-growing listening and writing abilities, I will respect myself.

"What about you?" he asked. "Will you be a reviewer?"

"That's what this is all about," the writer answered.

Monty's picture

Oh, I almost forgot, I like the Mission Statement.

Al Marcy's picture

Wait until you get old and your living space looks like the storeroom behind the pawn shop :)

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Well, the amp taking a beating isn't great, but if it was sent UPS, I can totally relate. UPS, it was.

Ward's picture

UPS. Bah. I had a subwoofer shipped in this week and it arrived with a gaping hole in the cardboard box. The sub seems mostly undamaged except for a couple of nicks on the back. But I had the same issue you did. How would I really know if it was damaged sonically in some subtle way. Stupid UPS.