Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Sounds of Insanity

I have to start off by stating I’m not a very musical person. When I was about twelve years old, I wanted to learn to play the drums. My parents, with a combination of financial savvy and foresight, already had an upright piano and decided the best course of action would be to cut a deal with me: take two years of piano first, then I could take drum lessons. (As a friend of mine has said numerous times, I might have been born at night, but I wasn’t born last night.) I spotted the stall tactic a mile away, and I called my parents on it. They denied the stall and tried to convince me that the piano would better enable me to learn to read music and to develop an ear for melodies. Melodies, schmelodies! I wanted to bang on those drums and get the chicks. Of course, those weren’t my exact words to my parents, but I did try to convince them that the piano truly wasn’t necessary.

At the age of twelve, my business acumen wasn’t that well developed, and my negotiating prowess was – how shall I say – wanting. Mom and dad knew they were holding all the cards, so they stood firm. They signed me up for piano lessons with my brother’s girlfriend and dug in for the protracted battles to come: getting me to practice. Fortunately for everyone involved – especially my brother’s girlfriend whom he later married – it was a short campaign and I held up the white flag after two months. Peace and serenity were maintained in the Greene home, and drums were never purchased nor pounded.

With that said, despite my lack of musical talent, I was quite the singer as a young boy. I heartily belted out the classics either by myself or along with a group. Let’s see. “London Bridges” was one of my favorites – what a great tune to teach young, impressionable members of society. In the song, we bemoan the structural weaknesses of the bridges of London, but that’s okay because we have a good-looking woman (“my fair lady”) by our side. That had to be confusing for a lot of little girls. It also has to put nerves on edge for the citizens of and visitors to Lake Havasu, Arizona – taking the London Bridge apart, transporting it across the ocean, and reassembling it can’t exactly improve the strength of a relic of that size and magnitude.

“Ring Around the Rosie” was another oldie but a goodie. We would merrily chant away about how to take care of the body of someone who had fallen victim to the Bubonic Plague. Sunshine all around! Is it any wonder that so many of today’s adults are so heavily medicated?

I foresee children one hundred years from now singing about the fall of Enron with the same blithe and glee one feels when thinking about the arrival of Santa Claus.

Little Kenny was so clever
All had bought what he had to sell
Keeping the world hot and cold
He’d never see Graybar Hotel

Even farther in the future, after the world is taken over by cyborgs who are immune to disease and bad jokes, the young will sing about E.coli and wonder why spinach got such a bum wrap.

Bacteria, bacteria all wrapped up and bagged
Conveniently deadly, others just gagged
Pretty and green for Popeye’s delight
Gripping the world with terror and fright

You laugh now, but do you think our ancestors – two hundred, three hundred years ago – would have thought we’d pay for water in little plastic bottles?

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