Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Piano Man

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it's better than drinking' alone

On her belly, one step at a time, the Monkey maneuvered down the stairs. Mama maintained a watchful eye from mere steps away. The girls were heading downstairs to swap the laundry. Slack-ass Daddy sat on the sofa, sipping a Sam Adams, while surfing through a sea of basic-cable sewage.

One step at a time. The Monkey concentrated on foot placement and her relative distance from Mama. She's a careful girl, if not borderline compulsive.

It was then, in the Monkey's mid-descent, that Daddy decided to stop on one of those non-MTV music-video channels that actually show music videos. Shakira, it must have been. (Daddy was always a sucker for writhing belly flesh.) Lured like a stripper to coke, daddy's flipping faltered and the volume spiked under the pressure of his thumb on the button.

If you have ever witnessed one of those fake-hypnotist stage spectaculares at the state fair, (the one where the snake-oil salesman whistles the Chicken Dance and his sleeping subjects peck the stage like hungry hens) then you will have some idea what the Monkey's reaction to Rhythm looks like. Same response to all music, really. Fast, slow, loud, soft, any tune will transfix my daughter, and summon the secret spirit of clapping and stomping.

As the sultry Columbian belly dancer declared the honesty of her wiggling hips, the stair case-rappelling tot rose from her safety-crouch to dance a little ditty. As she was perched precariously upon the mid-flight step, she promptly propelled herself ass-over-tea-kettle down to the landing below.

As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir. Ultimately, though, she proved to be unharmed, and lessons were learned by everyone.

What left me in a post-crisis pre-blogging ponder was where this musical Pavlovism came from. To be sure, Mama marched in a band many years ago. Her specialty was blowing in and on a variety of horns and flutes. (I'll let you make your own jokes here...) However, she will be the first to tell you that all of her flute tooting was the product of practice rather than any mystical musical muse.

And Daddy? Daddy got a drum set for Christmas, 1977. After 128 renditions of Little Drummer Boy, the drums mysteriously vanished from the house.

There were two attempts at guitar, both ending badly. I can still play the C-chord. (I know, you're impressed.) Look out Esteban!

Of course, there was the Jr. High hand-bell choir at church. White gloves. Brass bells. The only thing I recall from that musical safari was the redhead girl who played the half-octave to my right. She had developed at an early age, and if we could pling through the Hallelujah Chorus quickly enough, there was usually enough time to make out and grope her sweater puppies behind the bus barn before my mom arrived.

And that's about it. Well, I guess, there was the piano. A light-wood pre-owned upright thing that my mother imposed upon me. With the purchase of the accursed instrument, came six months of free lessons. Those lessons, please believe, were all intended for me.

The piano instructor was an old woman who was born before the internal combustion engine. Seemingly in the South, as all of her instructional melodies were horribly offensive. "Blackies Toting Bales" and "Negroes in the Field" etc... I was ten years old, and even I knew something was wrong. Oh, and she also smelled like urine.

Needless to say, my musical education went the same way as my foreign-language education. Don't ask me to strike up a song at your next party. However, that leaves me with a dancing monkey and no clear vision of what to do with her tuneful obsession. Lessons of course, though in what, I cannot say. Lessons with someone who is not a closet clucker with a weak bladder I suppose. That much I can say for sure.

Reading for comprehension:

1. What video did Brian stop to watch, and what does this say about his masculenity?
2. What does Brian think about stage-show hypnotists?
3. Why are all old people urine-stained biggots?


  1. Cool. You have a link to my blog now.

  2. Ballet lessons - definitely..

  3. 1. Shakira (all her videos show tummy)
    2. hypnotists take advantage of idiots like the rest of us.
    3. old people are biggots because they taught bigotry in school; they are urine stained because they loose bladder control in old age and do not seem to care.

    Why can I not get this image out of my mind: "She had developed at an early age, and if we could pling through the Hallelujah Chorus quickly enough, there was usually enough time to make out and grope her sweater puppies behind the bus barn before my mom arrived."

  4. He's back! Lovin' the narratives, dude! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has failed at multiple attempts at instruments. Clarinet in the fifth grade? Horrible. Guitar? Ongoing letdowns... Skinflute? Well, it was juvey and I wanted his applesauce!

    Well, I'm gonna go to the lavatory and meditate on Shakira for a bit.

    I'm linked, too! It's one big happy incestuous family of internet ramblings!

  5. Brian Smith11:09 AM

    First of all, Wellcome back!! The world just isnt right if I cant publically poke fun at you.

    You never gave any details whether the redhead felt your "bells". Since you did not develope at an early age, I'm guessing no.

    The irony in the monkey dancing is that she most likely has a wonderful career of exotic dancing ahead of her.
    Someday, when you are posessed by BOB, you may run into her and have a melt down. (wasnt that a great scene in twin peaks)

    My experience with biggoted old people involved my clostomy bag wearing grandfather. He wore his bag outside of his clothing. It was fascinating to watch it fill every time he coughed, laughed, or said the "n" word.

  6. Did you flash him photos of OJ just for shits and giggles?

  7. Anonymous5:17 PM

    1. It might have been a Shakira video. Brian admits "it must have been" but that doesn't mean that it actually was. Regarding his masculinity, it just means he likes flesh like all the rest.
    2. He is jealous of them. Brian wants those powers.
    3. Trick question. You don't have anything in the entry as to why they are urine-stained bigots so this isn't a reading comprehension question.

    And, I agree with Lisa - ballet lessons. They are a right of passage for all little girls. And, she will learn balance and how to use the barre. All good preparations for stripping.

  8. Just as long as she doesn't play basketball...

    Ooh, Im linked too!

  9. Because they get super excited when caught up in racist/gay bashing/commie hating/new fangled machinery what the helling that they wet them selves.

    like you never get that excited about anything.

  10. It's because the little rugrat listened to good, decent music like Division Six. We're all American, sport. ALL AMERICAN! Turning babies into strippers at every chance we get!

  11. When the Monkey hears music she dances. Why does this lead to the conclusion that she needs music lessons and not dancing lessons? Clearly Lisa is right. This is a child destined for dancing lessons. Clearly Lisa is right. And, let's face it, she'll be better able to support your lazy urine-stained bigot ass as a stripper than a member of the Portland Ballet.

    My password is ibgay.

  12. Yes, the previous comment was poorly edited. My apologies.

  13. Play close attention to these comments Brian

    I agree with Lisa
    Clearly Lisa is right - twice

    just saying....

  14. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Hey! Where is the next post?

  15. Please Jesus, let him be on hiatus again.

  16. amanda12:05 PM

    Not ballet. You need to enroll her in hip hop dance classes. Perhaps also she should learn how to krump. I also sense a love of percussion. Perhaps the tympani is her calling.


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