Sunday, December 10, 2006

Drumsticks

Today’s blog is just me rambling.
[And so how is this any different than any other blog you write, Cipriano?]
What I mean is, today I totally absolve you from all obligation to read on.
I wave my priestly hand in front of your face and say, “Te absolvo.”
What I mean is, → THIS STUFF WILL NOT BE ON THE EXAM!
It’s just too cold to go outside today, and so I’m thinking about junk, in the warmth of my apartment.

I received an email from a friend, and in it, she said:
I clearly remember knowing in third grade that I wanted to play saxophone.

When I read this, those dreamlike squiggly vertical lines, like heat radiation on the highway ahead, appeared before me… just like in the movies.
I slipped into a reverie.
See, I clearly remember knowing in about first grade that I wanted to be a drummer.
To play the drums. It was always in me. Innate.
At my birth, tympanies were pounding. [Just ask my mom!]
Immediately as I received the strength to walk and cause mayhem, I began pounding on stuff. No warning whatsoever. Just severe pounding, apparently.
“Pounding on what, Cipriano?”
On STUFF.
Basically on anything that didn't move, and sometimes on stuff that did!
Like I would take my mom’s pots and pans out of the cupboards, set them up, and beat on them with spoons and any other sort of weapon at hand.

My parents began to seriously consider where they might be able to sell me.
Soon I discovered the wonderful drumlike properties of our kitchen chairs. So I pounded on them until the stuffing came out. My mother, rather than killing me, kept sewing new covers for the chairs. I literally remember our chairs, having been re-covered and re-stuffed a dozen times, looking like big muffins. They were no longer flat, but had a peak to them. Guests would sit down and give you that look, you know? The look that wonders what sort of strange hemorrhoidal problems would cause this particular family to sit on these mountainous muffin-chairs.

One day, one of them asked.
You may think I am kidding, but I am not kidding.
His name was R--- S--- . In an age of Google-search, I don’t want to reveal his identity, even though he is deceased now. But OK, his first name was Red.
My father was a salesman, and Red was a visiting client of my father’s. At this time I was in Grade Three.
I was in an advanced state of Thing-Pounding already.
Sitting atop his own Muffin-Chair©, Red observed me off in the corner, rhythmically destroying something. Thing is, Red was a musician, and he recognized that I had talent. He and his wife Connie played clubs… mostly country music. He acknowledged to my father that my pounding was quite good.
“Really?” said my dad. “We always thought that maybe someone had dropped him on his head, like early on….”
“No, no. He’s really cutting a groove there,” said Red, adding, "If we can only get him to un-cross his eyes while he's doing it, we've really got something good here!"

Next time Red visited our place, he brought [epiphany… sound the tympanies]…. a pair of drumsticks. And he gave them to me.
It was like REVOLUTIONARY!
My pounding became increasingly Neanderthal, in its savagery.
We had a piano downstairs. No one played the thing. It was only there because the movers could not remove it when we bought the house. [How it ever got there, I still don’t know. Was the house built around it?]
Anyway, one day, with my new drumsticks, I pounded all of the ivory keys, chipping them at the fronts, where there was a bit of overhang. The result was…. umm… a real jagged keyboard. I ruined the piano, aesthetically, at least.
My parents knew that they now had to either sell me, or kill me, or re-direct my energies.

Deciding on this latter option, they had a surprise for me one day when I got back from my Grade Three schoolday. I will never forget it as long as I live.
I sat down on a Muffin-Chair© and my dad looked at me, and said, “Maybe you should go downstairs, and see what is there.”
I was wary. It seemed like a trick.
But I ran down the stairs, just the same.

And there it was.
A marble-blue, five-piece set of Baxter Percussion drums. With cymbals and the whole nine yards. All set up.
I promptly beat the living hell out of them.
I was in heaven.
My parents, now at the foot of the stairs had this look on their face. Again, a combination of, “What have we done?” and, “Where can we sell him?”
As my daily drumming shook the cups and saucers from their mooring in the cupboards on the floor above me, I was often rewarded with that same look, every time I made my sweaty ascension… asking for victuals to provide me with the energy to continue my senseless thrashing!
I marvel at the endurance of my parents.

Baxter Percussion [as a company] does not even exist anymore. I graduated from that set to a ten-piece set of silver Pearls, and from there to a set of custom-made Milestones.
One day I may blog about the [regrettable] reason I forfeited a career as a professional drummer. It is indeed sad, the story.
Nowadays, it is the steering wheel of my car that receives the brunt of my latent energies. I cannot even tell you how many times I have been playing a virtual concert on the thing, with the radio blasting, only to look over and see someone in another car, giving me that look.
The same old look!
The one that wonders from what height I was dropped, as a baby.

*************

1 comment:

cipriano said...

It was four feet!
I swear. I remember it like it was yesterday.
My only EARLIER memory is when the doctor slapped me on the butt and said, "Don't you EVER go in there again!"