Watching the video posted below brought me right back to 1977 in the auditorium at Northwood Elementary. I was ten years old, dressed in my good white peasant blouse and my bell bottom jeans peppered all over with flower patches and my cork heeled clogs and that little gold letter “A” in the corner of my glasses, waiting for my turn to audition for chorus.
I didn’t really want to be there because I was painfully shy and always tried my utmost not to call attention to myself and blend in with the air. But it was a rule that every student had to audition for chorus because our district subscribed to the education policy known as SADISM which also included hiring 600 pound smelly French teachers and mandating group showers after gym class at the high school level.
I watched and listened as all the students before me stood up one by one and sang Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do a cappella so that the choral director could get a feel for their vocal range and place them accordingly on the stage risers. Altos to the right, sopranos to the left, tenors at the top, the bass at the bottom and OH MY GOD, IS THAT GUM IN YOUR MOUTH? SPIT IT OUT IMMEDIATELY BEFORE I HAVE MADAME LESCHENDER SIT ON YOU.
When it was my turn, I swallowed my gum, stood up and fervently prayed that an earthquake would cave in the stage floor and I’d be immediately crushed to death, destined never to sing in front of a crowd or do long division again. I waited but New York wasn’t known for earthquakes and soon the director was tapping her baton impatiently so I closed my eyes and nervously sang my Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do and while I didn’t think Andy Gibb or his brothers were going to come beating down my door, neither did I think that they were going to pay someone to muzzle me. So I waited for the director’s comments and when none were forthcoming, I peeked out of one eye to see her and the entire auditorium staring at me, slack jawed. I opened both eyes and saw the director quickly motion me over to her side where she proceeded to advise me in a whisper that perhaps I would be doing everyone a favor by pursuing mathematics instead. Then she shoved tissues in her ears to stem the bleeding.
I cried and grabbed my macramé purse and Partridge Family lunch box, ran up the aisle and out the door, never to sing in public again.
I took up the flute instead and spent the next two years in the band room, learning my scales and getting a head start on lung cancer because Mr. Gunther was an avid cigar lover.
Aren’t flashbacks wonderful, in a blunt force trauma to the head sort of way?
My former mother-in-law sent me this video and it has totally screwed up my schedule. I was going to get the transmission fluid checked in my car today but now, after watching this video, I need to pack up all the clothes that actually fit me into my purse, go get a passport and then move overseas so that I can be where all the action is. Because cool stuff like this? It always happens over there. It doesn’t happen here. T-Mobile video in Tralfalgar Square, anyone?
We have Grand Central and Penn Station here in New York – last I checked, they’re pretty big and rumor has it that New York has its fair share of artsy fartsy people so, what’s the problem? Next to Hollywood, we’re the movie capital of the world, for crying out loud … we can’t handle a little five minute song and dance video?
What’s the matter with us?
See? I dare you to tell me that didn’t make you smile.
So all you American artsy fartsies … the United States needs you. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country and for Pete’s sake, don’t forget to set it to some great music, videotape it and upload it to YouTube so that we can remain the super power we purport to be.
Who is Pete, anyway? How’d he get so famous?
Oh, and by the way, just in case you’re wondering … I still don’t sing in public anymore. I sing in the privacy of my Honda or when I want to peel the chrome off a car in five seconds flat or humiliate my kids at a red light. But you can bet your bippy that had I been in Antwerp Central Station that morning, I would have channelled my inner ten year old self and belted out my Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do all over again in all of its nails-on-chalkboard glory.
It would have been totally worth a few thousand pairs of hemorrhaging ears.