Some say its starts like a bicycle inner tube leaking air. They say it sounds like a slow hiss followed by a sudden pop! Others say it’s more like an implosion, like the entire world caved in around something that suddenly ceased to exist. And then there are those who claim that it’s the beginning of the end.

It’s the sound of a booking agent exploding.

Agent Stress Syndrome. ASS. Even the name of this dreaded malady is enough to bring tears to grown men, make women faint and children scream for their mothers. No one knows what causes it. In fact, all science has determine so far is that the immense pressures of booking shows for acts like Maxwell or Col. Parker often cause a rise in pulse, blood pressure and anxiety fluids, leading to that inevitable moment when an irresistible force meets an unstoppable object. End result? Agent goes boom-boom. It isn’t a pretty sight.

How did ASS begin? Some believe it’s because today’s new agents were raised in front of TVs that spewed MTV, CSPAN and Jerry Springer all day. Others think it’s because agents are bio-genetically engineered to please all parties involved when it comes to negotiating fees for Valdy, or Fighting Gravity. Then there are others who claim that the sudden blasts resulting in the scattering of business cards and cell phone batteries are acts of a vengeful God who has returned to collect on that final box office settlement.

Won’t you help?

For starters, give generously when you see the big ASS sign posted outside concerts by The (International) Noise Conspiracy or Destiny’s Child. But that’s only the beginning. If society is to continue to enjoy shows by Britney Spears, Jerry Seinfeld or Shoe Suede Blues Feat. Peter Tork, it’s going to take more than money. It’s going to take more than donated cell phone chargers or hands-free headphone attachments to stop the rising number of agent explosions. It’s going to take devotion and dedication to the cause. As one of our past leaders once said, “Ask not what the booking agent for Dixie Chicks or Mr. T Experience can do for you, but what you can do for a booking agent.”

We all pray that someday we will live in a world where “booking agent” and ASS will no longer be synonymous. But until that long awaited day arrives, it’s up to each and every one of us to reach into our pockets and show our unrequited love for booking agents. Please give generously the next time you see an ASS representative. Thank you.