I woke with the word petronome in my head.

I had never heard of the word before. It sounded very close to Petronius, a word which I had heard of or read at some point, but for the life of me, couldn’t remember whether it was a person, object or place to visit. Of course I had to look the words up, so in the quiet dimness of the mornings’ dawn, downstairs to the kitchen I went. Kettle on and cats fed, I decided to look up Petronius first. At some point in my life I had come upon the word and my brain had made note of it; deciding to store it away (without definition) until which time I should need to find out why it was sitting there, taking up valuable brain space.

Tea steeped, tablet ready, I typed it in. Ah ha! Petronius ( Gaius Petronius Arbiter) was a novelist during the Neronian era (54-68 AD). Believed to be the author of a satirical novel called Satyricon. I completely have no recollection of ever having discussed, studied or written anything about this chap- how on earth was the name familiar to me? I looked up his quotes and came upon this brilliant one (which I don’t mind telling you, I will somehow use in a future argument with my partner).

“Can’t you see that I’m only advising you to beg yourself not to be so dumb?”.

With the definition clearly linked to the word, I promised myself that one day I would pickup a copy of Satyricon, where it would sit with the hundreds of other books in my bookcases, waiting for the perfect lazy day to be enjoyed.

It then occurred to me that Petronius sounded an awful lot like patronus (think Harry Potter) which I most certainly had to look up just to see if JK Rowlings had made up the word or, if it were truly a real word. I confirmed that patronus is indeed, a real word (although not exactly how Rowlings defined it) and made a mental note, not for the first time, to learn Latin when I had a few spare minutes…

I got around, finally, to looking up the word petronome, which as I said, I had never heard of before and had woken me from a restful slumber. One search and I found it! Petronome apparently is an app for young children. Essentially it’s a metronome which uses animal sounds to keep rhythm. I clicked on a short You Tube video to see (hear) what it was all about. I can now not ‘unhear it’. 

Some of you who teach and/or have small tots at home, may decide that this is a wonderful app. My opinion on the matter however, stems from a particular Christmas season-I believe it was perhaps my 5th year in retail.

Having passed the retail 35 year mark as a career some time ago, I will say that there are a number of learning opportunities (mistakes) that one makes when trying to lead a team to success. It was the late 1980’s and we were in the business of adopting pets and selling pet supplies. It was Christmas time! The malls were jam packed with consumers, most of whom were pet lovers- all out and about, grabbing last minute treats and toys for their furry friends. As a store manager, I took it upon myself to make sure my staff were in ‘happy, holly jolly spirits’ from morning until close, which of course included music!

We had a radio and cassette player (boom box)-usually set to a radio station which would appeal to the majority of the public. For the holiday season however, I had asked all the staff to bring in their Christmas cassette tapes, to be played from open till close, in order to get everyone in the mood to spend money! I do not remember who brought in ‘the tape’. I DO recall however, that a portion of the staff, (after listening to perhaps the 30th rendition of kittens meowing ‘Jingle Bells’ and dogs barking ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ ) threatened to quit. Their focus turned not towards the customers, but to destroying the cassette that was dramatically affecting their mental well being! 

I took this all in stride, playing the cassette at any given opportunity when I felt we needed to draw customers into our store from their mall window shopping. It was all in fun (for me)…until… I began to hear this memorable compilation when the tape wasn’t playing…Whilst driving home (I’m Dreaming of a White—bark bark bark- Christmas). Trying to fall asleep at night (I Saw Mommy Kissing-meowww meow meow…). In line at the grocery store (Hark the Harold chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp). Mortified, I realized I could no longer remember all of the words to carols I had known since I was a child, the lyrics replaced with howls, grunts and tweets! This was an ear worm that needed to die!

Being the understanding manager that I was, I concluded that the tape must leave the premises because I cared about my staff’s well being (ie: my own personal sanity). The staff  were gratified and approximately a decade later, I once again remembered the words to ‘Let it Snow’.

We may have burned that cassette.

And so, over a quarter of a century later, we have petronome…an app that is a metronome with pet sounds. Who knows how or why I woke with the word in my head, but I say good luck to all the parents and educators who download this app. I promise you this- You will never (ever) forget it…ever.

Meow. Meow. Meow.🎶 

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