Monday, June 14, 2010

Round Pegs Not Welcome

I went to a high school graduation ceremony last week. It was really long, but it was pretty good too. Harkened back to my own grad ceremony that I'm sure was not near as polished as this one was. We didn't get to wear the graduation gowns and caps and even though our valedictorian has gone on to be a successful actress, their valedictorian speech was a one act play compared to our obituary. No knock against our fine valedictorians who impressed me at the time, but these kids today are slick. The grad class even sang a song together. At my grad there was nothing I had to do but shake the principals hand and sit there and I screwed that up by wearing white socks with my suit that were clearly visible from the audience (how was I supposed to know this was wrong, I think all I had were white socks - regular readers will know of course that most of them were of the tube variety).

Anyhow there was one thing that kind of bugged me and I know these are just high school kids with their forgivable low confidence neurosis to deal with, so I say this knowing I shouldn't be expecting otherwise. The non-participant participant is a pet peeve of mine in any situation, and it stood out on this night. One particular individual who (and I'm sure there were others less visible) was sitting right smack in the middle was a particular standout. She not only decided she wouldn't wear the cap, but she made no effort at all to join in on the song.

Now maybe there was some religious objection to caps and songs that I am not aware of, however if you're going to show up to take part in an event then you should take part. If you don't want to wear the cap and sing the song and do the little choreographed entrance then maybe you should just give it a pass. If you're too hip to be square then take your round peg and hang out in some other hole.
Another thing that's changed at some point is graduation has changed from a one night event into a series of events that start in May and end in mid-June. There's prom (which we used to think was just some crazy American thing), the grad ceremony and dance (which I think is referred to as dry grad) and then Wet Grad (which I think is referred to as getting drunk). We used to have to do all that in one night. We had to change out of our suits mid-evening so we wouldn't spill our drinks on them.

And by "We", I mean the collective pronoun, because as you well know, Little Jackie Showers wasn't much of a drinker back in the day. Which is a good thing because studies show that high school binge drinking can impair the growth of your frontal cortex. And if you don't know what a frontal cortex is then shame on you for drinking so much in your high school years. However if you did so just to be a keen participate in the grad festivities then you are forgiven. Just that once.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Can't Feel the Music

I like music. I enjoy listening to a song. I particularly like the use of music in film or in an end of the year or Olympic montage video. Sometimes it even makes me misty. But music doesn't speak to me and I am a poorer man for this.

Perhaps you don't know what I'm talking about or maybe you think, "Jack ole buddy, you're being too hard on yourself." Or if you know me well, maybe you're saying, "You got that right".

While I like music I know that it doesn't speak to me on the same level that it does many other people. People like you, or at least some of you. I know this in the same way that I know that baseball speaks to me in a way that it doesn't speak to most of you.

When I look around me and watch people interact with music, listen to music and talk about music I sense a connection that I just don't have. I've tried to deny this at times, but the evidence is clear. I have an iPod. It's a hand me down. What do I do with it? I listen to podcasts. Spoken word podcasts. I haven't even added or deleted a song since it was given to me. A few times I've listened to the songs that are on there, but I'd say less than 2% of the time I've used it so far has been for listening to music. In my car, I usually listen to talk radio. If I do listen to music it's usually because I like the DJ's witty banter on that station and I'm willing to wait for the songs to end. Woe is me.

But at least there is baseball. I feel baseball. It's just a game to most people and I dare say a boring game at that. Not to me. For me it is so much more than a game just like to a music person a song is so much more than just a song. Me, I used to sing my kids to sleep by singing. What did I sing? "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".

Apparently parades don't speak to many of you either as my follow up parade post didn't inspire any witty commentary. I would like to follow up the follow up with another update. I went to another parade today and like the one I saw earlier this parade season there were huge gaps at times in the parade. Gaps in a parade are not new, but they seemed to be much more common and bigger than I recall seeing in the past. I think this is emblematic of the general degradation of the structure and order in our society. Nobody has any respect for parade marshalls anymore, just like every other authority figure. In fact as near as I can tell, the parade marshall job is either gone by the wayside or changed. Used to be they travelled up and down the parade and put a stop to any poor parading and fixed those gaps. Now they are nowhere to be seen. Shame on us as a society for allowing such a travesty.