Anyone who knows me personally already understands I have this cluster of symptoms known as IML Syndrome. It’s a widespread affliction that causes people to do things like drop $200 to witness a group of lassitudinous septuagenarians gyrate for two hours. As recently as a decade ago, people who suffer from IML Syndrome might have spent more than $20 a week on shiny pieces of plastic – or, in serious cases – be compelled to spend inordinate amounts of time studying esoteric things like ‘bessel crossovers, cabin gain, or phase coherence.’ Some people work diligently to diminish the symptoms, and will only listen to music as loudly as they like in their car, alone – while others will openly wear garments known as ‘band shirts,’ which send the message of ‘I have IML, and I’m proud of it.’
‘IML’ is known as ‘Intense Music Love,’ and if you or someone you love has this condition, you will understand how it can alienate those with the disorder from people who are immune. One symptom of IML has actually caused me to break-up with otherwise-decent boyfriends or not even give some people a chance, as I (perhaps irrationally) presume someone who doesn’t have the disorder will never understand what it’s like to live with it.
When I first realized I had the disorder, I tried to limit my particular variant in such a way that I only associated with others with that specific type. Now that I’ve matured, I realize that all those affected by IML syndrome are faced with, essentially, the same issues – and as long as they embrace the disorder and it’s effects, we can all learn to accept one another, regardless of any perceived differences.
People with IML syndrome look beyond the simple effects of music such as those beats that make your head bob, to actually philosophizing about it. Obviously, it sounds good – but IML sufferers see music in a very special way. To me, it is a craft. It’s something just a couple of people can make together; or even one person can do alone – with just a voice. How many things are like that nowadays? So simple to make (with a little practice) yet capable of providing a quality and quantity of happiness the most manufactured, expensive, mass-produced, designer-label, interest-bearing, assembly-line packaged, in-demand commodities can’t possibly impart. All the while it’s never perfect; even one song isn’t always the same thing twice. You can share it but you still have it.
If you feel this strongly about music, you too may have a case of IML. But don’t worry, you don’t go to that concert alone. Unlike most disorders, IML sufferers who are exposed new variants will often benefit.