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Ballad of a Retired Goof-Off by Gene Myers

Ballad of a Retired Goof-Off by
Article Posted: 02/01/2020
Article Views: 1172
Articles Written: 205
Word Count: 1158
Article Votes: 3
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Ballad of a Retired Goof-Off

Recreation & Leisure,Humor,Music
Once again the sun defeated the moon as night gave way to dawn, which was the 29,088th time since my birth.

Better still, I blinked awake (yes!), and joyfully realized I had another day to mess around. You see, I no longer take waking up for granted, especially since a friend, artist Ed Manetta, went to bed and never stirred again, and Uncle Kenny, fully dressed, sat in a chair to wait for Aunt Phyllis to get ready to go out for breakfast. That was the last time he closed his eyes.

I wonder if Ed and Kenny even know they’ve left the domain of the quick? You know, they just nodded off for a peaceful snooze when sleep’s big brother came to call. Did they dream first? Have a vision? See that white light? Or did they just fade out like a scene in a movie as all went quiet behind their eyes? Fade-to-black in screenwriter’s dialect. Houdini promised to come back, and tell us about the experience. So far he hasn’t. Probably just “theater”, right?

Anyway, I love new days; love waking up always expecting something fantastic to happen; something unique. Usually nothing out of the ordinary occurs, but my expectations remain the same. The new days continue to stack up until one realizes, “Hey, I may be running out of new days.” I mean, how many are we allotted? Maybe 33,000 tops? As for me, I don’t want my lifelong childhood to end. Bummer.

Be aware there are enemies, blackguards, and Philistines out there who strive to spoil your new days. Mostly the media, and ideologue, sycophantic blatherskites. The news sources are full of the same political BS that seems to continually escalate, and further divide families and friends. What’s happened to us? It’s like wrestling (actually rasslin’) or roller derby has taken over society. Quite a few sore losers are still having crybaby breakdowns over the national election results of 2016. Geez, folks, get over it and move on. President Donald J. Trump seems to be the most polarizing figure since basketball coach Bobby Knight. The snowflakes started talking impeachment before Obama left office. My point: All of this blather is ruining my quality of life so I do my best to ignore it. It isn’t easy, but I manage.

I decided to go for a run. In addition to the benefit of physical exercise, I use the peace and quiet to think of essays to write (or poems, or lyrics). Of course, once in a while one’s nose loads up, requiring one to blast off a snot rocket—that’s between spitting. My wife considers both really gross and uncouth. Tell me, ladies, do you ever do that or is it a male thing? She comes back with, “Well, you don’t have to do that on a treadmill.” Damned if she isn’t right. Another oddity about outside running versus inside treadmill is the absence of “crop dusting” while on the treadmill; that is, unless you can blame it on someone else. After pondering for a moment, I decided that’s just the way of the universe; a phenomenon mankind just has to accept without explanation like having to take a leak during an inconvenient time in the wee hours of the morning. Especially when it’s cold outside the covers.

Well, the universe got back at me today. As I run, if I frequently discover bolts, screws and/or nails along the lane, which is adjacent to the main drag of my community, I pick them up and chuck them either in the bushes or rocks. Likewise, I kick any rocks out of the way. Unfortunately, one of the rocks was in actuality a dog turd. Uh…the fresh ones don’t roll very well.

After finishing the run (and cleaning my shoes), I ate some oatmeal with blueberries, and contemplated what to do next. The wife, Kay, was out running errands so my choices were: 1) go lift at the gym, swim some laps, and take a steam; or 2) get out my trombone and annoy the neighbors. Easy choice. I unpacked the horn.

Brass instruments have what is labeled a “water valve”. Do NOT be fooled. It’s a SPIT valve; a way of clearing saliva out of the instrument after one buzzes into the mouthpiece for a time. Kay also thinks spit valves are gross, and I am inclined to agree, but they are a necessary reality. (Ah, science.) I keep a towel available, but many trumpet, trombone, and other brass players just unload on the floor. I attended a jazz jam at a downtown Phoenix club that featured a terrific flugelhorn player. After every number he’d open the (chuckle) water valve, and in full sight of the audience let it flow onto the floor. I never saw so much “water”; looked like a horse taking a leak.

Trombones may be the worst because the (giggle) water valve is at the end of the slide. Now, the valve isn’t a perfect seal so when operating the slide, one may sling spit who knows where. For a typical big band, the saxophones sit in front and below the trombones. Perhaps they should erect umbrellas between the two, but I suppose that would spoil the “visual” of the band.

I practiced until my embouchure started to fail; that is, my lips became numb. By then, my neighbors had been tortured beyond reason so I put the instrument back in the case before Kay returned. (Also, had I continued I might have gotten my ass kicked.) You see, I’m not allowed to even have the trombone in sight when she’s home. I suppose I could purchase a mute, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about blasting the horn without restraint. During our band practices I normally leave the horn at home since our studio is rather tight (and to avoid getting my ass kicked). The snare drum and crash cymbal are bad enough.

Sometime listen the original Four Freshmen, and dig Bob Flanagan’s (he sings the high tenor) style of trombone playing on “Day by Day”. Kay doesn’t care for him either. Unfortunately, the original Freshmen are gone, but they kept their legacy alive. The third iteration of the quartet is still touring.

To complete this day of goofing off and messing around, I mixed an Old Fashioned, put on some Anita O’Day followed by Bill Evans trio, and in a nostalgic, musical mood reread an essay about my brother Thom’s last gig with the Bud Widmer Rube Band. It’s entitled, GHOST OF HALLOWEEN (articleid 6191000), and is available on my author’s page.

Later, after returning home from a band rehearsal, I kicked back, took a shot or two from my last late bottle and thought about the day.

I knew I’d never see it again.

Copyright by Gene Myers still kicking and loving life

Related Articles - new days, Donald J. Trump, Bobby Knight, physical exercise, tromebone, water valve, Four Freshmen, Goofing off,

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 Reader Opinions 
02/04/20 - 2:21:08 AM - Kay Myers
Another good article Gene. Enjoyed it. Keep up the good work, it keeps you busy and sharp. Love you, Kay

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