Dear Dr. Boli: At the retail establishment where I work, the management has decided to switch to a “smooth jazz” format for the piped-in music on the overhead loudspeakers. What is “smooth jazz”? I ask because I am tone-deaf myself, so all I hear is various buzzing noises. —Sincerely, A Team Member.

Dear Sir or Madam: “Smooth jazz” is the result of a Faustian bargain in which jazz musicians sell their immortal souls in return for the privilege of being heard in shopping malls and middlebrow restaurants all over the country. Jazz with the soul thus removed has none of the rough edges and sharp corners normally associated with the genre. Most musicians who are enabled in this way to make a steady living find that they do not miss their souls very much and can do without them quite comfortably.

It is worth noting that “smooth jazz” seems to have been fading in popularity over the last few years. Satanic pacts do generally come with expiration dates, and it is possible that “smooth jazz” musicians are now facing their dark overlord’s inevitable demand for payment. It is possible, also, that you are participating in their agreement with the powers of darkness merely by working in an establishment that plays their music. But you will probably not miss your soul any more than they do, if indeed it has not already been crushed out of you in the normal course of your employment.

Incidentally, your description of the “smooth jazz” you hear as “various buzzing noises” suggests to Dr. Boli that you may not be tone-deaf at all.