The microphone packs worn in the Big Brother (U.S.) house, including the unit and the battery pack, is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It’s heavy, as if said pack of cigarettes was filled with salt, or as heavy as an iPhone. And there’s an obnoxious antenna jutting out. Basically, wherever it is you have the mic attached to yourself, it drags that piece of clothing down an inch from the sheer weight of the batteries.
Then there’s the wire that runs from the unit which with a small clip microphone at the end. During live shows the female HGs have to get creative sometimes, hiding that ugly black wire under bra straps or armpits even. The rest of the days you don’t really care if your wire is showing, but for live shows everybody cares.
There are less instances you’re free of your microphone, than there are when you’re a slave to it. You can be sleeping or daydreaming or crying or peeing with your mic off, or detached all together, it doesn’t matter. If some HG jumps into your private space and starts talking to you, then you have to put your microphone on out of no fault of your own! When there’s conversation started between two there must be two microphones on. But then again If nobody wanted to talk to you, while you were sleeping or pooping or not, then that’s actually a bigger problem…
Your microphone becomes the bane of your existence. You must trade in your old batteries for fresh ones in the morning every morning you get to wake up in the Big Brother house. If you intentionally drown your microphone or otherwise damage anything belonging to CBS, including your microphone or other Houseguests, then you get kicked out and you have to pay for those damages…and face ridicule that turns later into TMZ infamy anyway. If you refuse to put on your microphone pack, then you can also be reprimanded and/or ejected from the house as well. Crazier things have happened and will never stop happening in the Big Brother house as long as the Chenbot still lives.
So basically, the microphone pack is just a symbol of your three months of reality television slavery for ratings. Houseguests are nothing but watered-down indentured servants to CBS. The viewers are vultures. Fascinating. Who would sign up for something like Big Brother? Lots of people, me or maybe your or someone you know.
Maybe it’s the allure of the money or the possibility of fame or love, or specifically seed money for illegal activities. I just wanted to win. The microphone pack was the least of my problems even though I hated it more than any Houseguest I lived with that summer. I hated that microphone more than The Mime. But I wore it faithfully until I left with my winning votes for $500,000.
But because I made my mic a part of my body that summer, and for weeks after the show ended and I was home, I had phantom mic pains.
I was back in my apartment in Manhattan fresh off my season, and far away from the Big Brother house, yet I constantly woke up in the mornings and felt around for my mic that wasn’t there. I was still adjusting to being out of the house, and free of my mic, yet I found myself constantly brushing my hair back behind my shoulders. The sound of hair brushing across the mic made production go nuts. I was guilty of this many times my season, and I did always apologize. It stayed with me for a long time after parting with my mic. Pavlov.
It’s just a microphone. I’m being so dramatic. Or am I? How much weight would a microphone have when your life was being documented under a microscope forever somewhere?