When it came time for Excitable to select an instrument to learn at school this year, his initially mentioned an interest in the flute.
This would have been awesome if he had previously shown any interest in my dusty stack of Jetho Tull vinyl in the corner of our basement, or at least in this key scene in one of my all-time favorite movies:
Truth be told, his only interest came from knowing his sister had played flute in elementary school and that she might be able to help him fake his way through it.
Well, as long as it wasn’t the screech of the violin, I could live with it. However, I thought I’d drop one sly hint on someone else’s behalf.
“Your mom,” I said, “would LOVE it if you tried to learn the saxophone.”
As long as I’ve known My Love, which is bordering on half my life now, I’ve known about her weakness for sax players. Doesn’t matter if they are Fabio lookalikes like that dude from Tina Turner’s old band:
Or ancient, torn-up and beer-gutted like Stones’ sideman Bobby Keys:
It’s always the same.
“Mmmm. That sax is sooo hot,” My Love would say.
Of course, My Love is not exactly known for her musical taste. When we first met, the radio in her duct-taped Toyota Corolla was permanently set to the strains of the local “smooth jazz” radio station which was essentially a 24-hour loop of Kenny G outtakes. The Federal Highway Administration eventually shut them down for contributing to a local spike in drowsy-driving accidents.
Still I agreed with her that the sax would be a good choice because it would offer far more tasty musical possibilities in his future. Rock. Blues. Soul. And no classical. You see sax players performing Handel or at chamber recitals as often as you see me listening to Handel or chamber recitals.
Excitable agreed with little hesitation, and for months I’d hear him in the basement make an occasional honk or bleat. Then one day, it came wafting up through the floor boards.
I sensed a warm feeling of recognition in my ear canal that slide steadily and thickly like melting candle wax down through my normally panicky soul.
I opened the basement door. There it was again, louder and more intense.
I crept down the stairs so as not to disturb to fragile sound waves filling the air around me. I reached the bottom and Excitable turned around.
“Hey,” I said, “are you playing ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple?”
He smiled and nodded.
At least for 90 seconds or so until the inevitable grade-school muddle ups.
I really wished I had a lighter.
Or at least a smartphone with a lighter app.
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Congrats to Tom Ryan and gmmerrell who won the White Collar and Burn Notice DVD sets, respectively, in last week’s giveaway. Email me your address and I’ll get them out to you ASAP.