You know, folks, I have a pretty tranquil life. I exercise, play tennis, swim; and will soon get back to running. I had to stop the latter because of sporadic hip pain that (now) seems to be abating. In addition, I practice piano, and have lately acquired (to my wife’s “delight”—NOT!) a trombone, which I am only allowed to practice when she is out. One conversation went like this: |
“That’s annoying and way too loud.” She held her ears, and made a painful face.
“I’m only playing what’s written.” I squinted at the bass clef chart to see if that was true.
“No, you’re playing what’s rotten! Put that thing away.”
See, I have no problem being loud; it’s the soft, mellow tones that I haven’t mastered. It easy to understand why people take up instruments in the fifth grade. I suppose I could purchase a mute. We’ll see…
I’ve always enjoyed music, but my interest in playing came about after I helped form several bands from people in our community. The bands reflect my eclectic taste. One plays vintage rock, another jazz and swing; and a trio, soft Brazilian-style jazz. Musicians and vocalists alike seem to be appreciating the experience immensely; as am I. Nothing to be bugged about there.
You know those out-of-business companies than get that way because they don’t listen to their customers? Well, after decades of preaching customer service, and even writing a book on the subject, I may be turning from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. That bugs me. The reason bugs me more. Let me explain…
I am an over-the-top fan of writing; books, essays, short stories—and that extends to musical charts and lyrics. Because of that, my favorite musical forms are jazz and classical. People go to those concerts to listen and appreciate the art—not scream, blather loudly, and jerk-and-jump around, which they call dancing. I suppose I shouldn’t be critical since my generation invented that form of choreography. My parents always wondered who’d want to dance without a partner; and what was the point. I tried to explain that one didn’t have to go through all that time-dragging crap of having to learn steps; just freeform move one’s body to the beat. Remember American Bandstand? Dick Clark would ask a teen what he/she liked about the song. The answer was always, “Duuuhhh, I like da beat.” My folks would shake their heads and mutter, “Kids!” Today, I understand what bugged Mom and Dad. My point: those kids are the 55-plus cohort of today’s population. They are the music customers who reside with me; the ones I consider musical Philistines. Logically, I know I’m probably the one out-of-step (sigh).
You see, the people who live in my so-called senior (but very active) neighborhood don’t care about the actual musical score and the lyrics because they “want to daaannncce” (whining voice). Between rounds so-called dancing they loudly talk with each other not giving a rat’s behind about the actual music. Seems rude to the musicians. That bugs me. Think I’m picking a point? Let me be specific.
A few years ago, under GREAT duress I attended a joint Skynyrd / Bad Company concert. I anticipated it would be challenging so I took a flask of bourbon—which was confiscated at the door. Damn! The amps were turned up so loudly that all one could hear was the bass guitar, and the thumping bass drum. Singing, melody, and lyrics were indistinguishable—totally! The sweaty, semi-lard audience stood, non-stop screamed, “danced” (well, shook their flab), and guzzled beer throughout the event; and afterward commented about what a great concert it was. What a waste of my life! My ears rang for days. I think they still do.
My wife just attended a Taylor Swift concert, which was basically an aerobics class for 60,000 with lyrics like, “The fakers gonna fa-a-a-ake…”
It bugs me what passes for music anymore. If you like it, fine. You are entitled to your choice. But when I hear someone say, “I don’t like jazz,” and admit they’ve never heard it, that bugs me.
But listen, enough about my beefs-and-gripes. Besides music, there is much to be thankful for especially this weekend. Sunday is Mother’s Day. None of us would be here without them. Five years ago, I honored my late mother with a poem published nationwide. My wife, Kay, is a wonderful mom, and has given us two great kids. I’ve always thought she deserved more than the likes of me, but I’m happy to be the lucky one who snagged her. Sometimes we win the lottery in ways we don’t understand until years later.
A BLESSED MARRIAGE
Look at us; two funny people blended for years. Did it ever make sense? Look at us; an odd couple—an unmatched pair, Yet somehow it works—an uncommon love affair
You are thoughtful. Me? Clueless. A weird duet. Strange how it seems to work. Against improbable odds, we took the bet. Like partners in tennis; in life, we won the set.
You and I may not completely agree, ma chere. Does it really matter? Worlds apart, we took the time to touch and share. Never perfect, but close enough for love and care.
One day when all goes silent behind my eyes; body cold (Spanked by Death at birth), Tell children and friends before they grow too old, That we were the greatest story never told.
I resisted the temptation to add BURMA SHAVE at the end.
All you moms have a great day. Cheers to all.
Copyright 2018 by Gene Myers, now mellow and un-bugged
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music, writing, American Bandstand, Skynyrd, Bad Company, Taylor Swift, Mother's Day,