Saturday, June 2, 2012

Proof

I have a roommate that plays the trombone. She read my blog about trombonists and recorders and sent me some childhood pictures of herself.

See? My blogs aren't always complete fabrications.



 I'm pretty sure the trombonist philosophy "more is better" meant that 2 recorders sounded terrible.


-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Saturday, May 26, 2012

You are Such a Dumb

There has been a new development in my research. You have heard me repeat many times that bass trombonists are notorious for being drunken creatures with a fondness of stupidity. It seems that I may have been wrong.

(BUT NOT ENTIRELY WRONG)

Having only switched over to bass bone in the past year and a half, I thought maybe it would take a while for the bass trombone mentality to set in. I waited patiently for my creature to take control of me and force me to drink copious amounts of alcohol before, during, and after every playing session (My fondness towards stupidity cultivated when I picked the trombone. See Soap is NOT Funny).

Alas! this did not happen.

I waited and waited with apprehension for the day when I would no longer get to experience playing the bass trombone sober.

I waited
                     
                                                        and waited
                                           
                                                                                                                               and waited

                           and waited                              and played with my toy Land Rover

                                                                                and waited


and I did not develop a taste for large quantities of alcohol. So I thought that something must be wrong.

My confusion was not for naught (hehe. not for naught). Bass trombonists just seem to talk as if they are always under the influence. You know, slurred words and trouble constructing sentences.

It was after one of my practice sessions that I noticed a change.

My friends laughed at me more. I said crazy things and began using incorrect grammar (Most notably "You are SUCH a dumb!). I began turning certain words plural when they should have been singular. The word lettuce became "a lettuces".

This change snuck up gradually and I never noticed it because I was spending all of my time waiting for my alcoholic monster to take over.

The monster did not take over. I mean, I'm still indulging a Dr. Pepper addiction in my quest to be the stereotypical obese trombonist...OK not really. That's just how I rationalize. I'm trying to quit a little bit. but not really.

The point I'm trying to make is, I'M NOT A DRUNK.

But why do I experience the symptoms?

Do you want to know why?
You don't wanna know.
You wanna know why?
You don't wanna know.
You wanna know why?

Because bass trombone makes you STUPID.

That's right. Stupid.

Symptoms last for different amounts of time depending on how long the musician played the bass trombone. Usually, the amount of time spent in the state of stupidity corresponds with how much time the instrument was played. Basically if you play for an hour, you will sound like an idiot for an hour.

Occasionally there are exceptions. Bass trombonists who have "no chops" are frequently referred to as 'lightweights". If they play for an hour, they sound stupid for 2 hours.

All of this is very scientifical.


Combine these symptoms with a bass trombonist who drinks when not playing, and you get someone who always sounds drunk. Scary.

So now the bass trombonist who was socially awkward to begin with is experiencing bouts of stupidity. It's one thing to introduce awkward sentences  in the presence of normal people, but it's another to say awkward things while appearing to be drunk.

But perhaps the perceived drunken state is more acceptable to the public than just being socially awkward. At least there is an excuse for the inappropriate comments.

The world may never know.

Here is a conversation between a normal person and a bass trombonist who has just finished playing.

Person: "Oh hello. How are you?"
Bass Trombonist: "Good."
Person: "That's great. What have you been up to lately?"
Bass Trombonist: "Caiman Lizards sometimes wear pants."
Person: "Oh really...um. Well,"
Bass Trombonist: "Strawberry are a things. Rhythm stick hit you. A galaxy are funny."
Person: Runs away screaming
Bass Trombonist: "TIDAL SNEEZE TAX!!!!!!!!!!" breaks down into tears.


No matter how hard the bass trombonist tries, the words "nothing much" are impossible to force out. 


So I beg my little audience to please be kind to the bass trombonists that may or may not be drunk. It's a hard life we live and stupidity is the price we pay for our "art". 


-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Elementary Musical Talent

All instruments are not created equal. And if there were one instrument that could be named the "weapon of mass destruction" of all instruments, it's the recorder.

Few instruments cause as much damage as the recorder does. Eardrums have been shattered. Houses set on fire. Children embarrassed. A recorder in the wrong hands turns into a weapon.

In many places, the recorder is the instrument learned in elementary school because music teachers don't believe that young students could learn to play anything else. 

They might be right.

But some students can't learn the recorder.

Now I know what all you normal people are thinking. You think that anyone with the ability to breathe can play the recorder. Well, congratulations ye with so much talent. Recorder came easy to you. So easy that you have eliminated the possibility of the existence of incompetent recorderers....recorderists? recordists?

To the future socially awkward trombonist, recorder will not come naturally. The recorder mixed with the socially awkward trombone gene is the reason why there is a distinct lack of trombonists in every middle school band. I will explain why.

Awkwardness issues in elementary school are widely undetected due to the young age of students and their tendencies to say extremely outrageous things. This makes it difficult for teachers to pick out future trombonists to help through the difficulties of learning the recorder.

The other feature that comes with the trombonist gene is the ability to blow large quantities of hot air without restraint.

The first day the elementary schooler picks up the recorder is an exciting one. Who wouldn't be excited about getting to play an extremely loud and irritating piece of plastic in school?

The excitement quickly evaporates when the teacher explains that there are rules to the recorder. It will not be a free for all. Students will have to learn songs as a class. They will also be expected to practice.

The teacher then proceeds to describe what seems to be everything. How notes are read. How the instrument is held. What a "squeak" is. That the recorder is an instrument and not a lightsaber or any variation on a weapon. During this important overview, the the future trombonist is happily picking a booger while imagining a recorder sword fight. The future bass trombonist is ingesting glue stolen from a previous class, but let's just be happy it's glue and not yet alcohol or large quantities of Dr. Pepper sugary drinks.

After this overview, the children in music class are encouraged to pick up their recorder and- oh wait, Billy has not yet bought a recorder (because he will be a trombonist some day) and must borrow a nasty tasting one that has been sitting in a bucket of disinfectant its entire life.
Now the students may place the recorder in their mouths and hold their fingers over the correct holes. On three, every student will play the same note and then stop when the teacher screams at everyone waves.

One

Two

Th-BBRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

And the first note of the year has been played. The children are looking quite pleased with themselves. At the end of class, the students are told to practice at home so they can get better. Except Billy. He still has no recorder and will probably taste disinfectant at every music class for a year before remembering to buy his own. But lets be real here. Disinfectant has alcohol. If Billy had a chance of a normal life, it's gone. Billy's future will be as a professionally wasted bass trombonist.

As the school year continues, the students reach the point in their short lived musical careers when they can play a song as a class. At first, the song is barely recognizable, but becomes clearer with every music class. However, a great number of squeaks still plague the ensemble.

Future Trombonist (FT): "Man, that person who keeps squeaking sure is a dweeb. Who actually squeaks on a recorder? It's the easiest thing ever. Check this out."
Future trombonist uses nose to play recorder. Then plays Hot Cross Buns very poorly.

The children find the nose display funny, but only laughter is heard. No conversation is struck up with the soon to be social outcast.



A few weeks later and the squeak is still there, masked among the performers.

FT: "Seriously. That squeaker is worse than a mouse. You guys stink!"

It is only 3 weeks from the end of the school year when the future trombonist realizes that the squeak is not the fault of anyone else. The FT has been causing it all along, and now comes to the realization that recorder is not easy. All of that hot and fast air is negatively impacting the sound of the recorder. No one ever explained how to keep it from squeaking, and now there is no hope at musical success.

This all leads to an embarrassing and awkward moment of reckoning for the future trombonist.

The future trombonist is forced to reconcile with the fact that playing the recorder (aka "the easiest instrument in the world) is going to be impossible.

But who really cares? It's not like the trombonist learned anything about the recorder. Really all the FT did was watch everyone else's fingers to see what was supposed to happen. Notes and rhythms were never learned because the FT was too busy with booger picking.

But future trombonists don't know this. They didn't even know that they weren't paying attention. These young people may never pick up the trombone because they are led to believe that if they can't play an instrument as easy as the recorder, then they can't play any instrument at all. It is only the really delusional ones that decide to continue music, and this is what ends up populating middle school trombone sections.

Most of the students who would have picked up the trombone quit music before they get the chance to try one out.

Somehow there are still a few kids that go on to play trombone. Even after every indication of their musical ability says that they are incapable of music, they persevere. But just think, if the recorder didn't discourage future trombonists, we would have waaaaaaay more of them.

That's what every music teacher wants. Right?                     conspiracies. 

THE END

Disclaimer: Sometimes when played professionally, the recorder can be considered relevant and maybe even pretty sounding. It's just that I have yet to hear or see (ew) good things come out of the $10 recorder of a 9 year old. Also, I still can't play the recorder and refuse to ever pick up the instrument again unless Bob Hallett is willing to give me lessons. And technically, I don't even think Bob plays recorder, but if he did, it would be tolerable sounding.

I think I'll stick with bass bone and my Dr. Pepper addiction. Which reminds me. The next post will examine the possibility that maybe not all bass trombonists are drunken lunatics. Doesn't sound too promising though...

p.s. The Art of Bass Trombone is live. Click the tab.

-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Friday, March 30, 2012

Raffles and Morbidity Conferences

In this world, there are quite a few awkward locations and situations that the bourgeois do not want to find themselves in (see, I CAN use big words).


For example,
  • Having to attend a circus show with someone who spins signs for a living and thinks they could be a better tightrope walker than the performers. 
  • Standing in a room with the largest piece of domino art ever and trying to control your recent uprising of leg spasms. One misplaced kick...
  • Getting to a Lamaze party and expecting drinks 'cause you're a dude and don't know what a Lamaze is. Then being disappointed. Lamaze does not mean "get drunk and run through a corn maze". (also, Lamaze party? what?) 
  • Accidentally chopping off multiple appendages while in the library. There's no screaming in the library.
  • Becoming captain of the "blood vessel" and then realizing your doctor was only joking. You aren't really getting a ship. You're just not going to be able to see for a few days.
  • Having to speak at a trombone conference and an amateur astronomers convention in the same week when you know nothing about either subject.
These are all situations and locations that most individuals would find uncomfortable.  

BUT WAIT!

None of those include potty humor.

That's because I always save the best for later. 

Here's the scenario:

You are a trombonist sitting in a small auditorium. This particular auditorium does not have many people in it. You have no reason to be there except you needed to drive an interested party to this auditorium for a talk and are now waiting on said party to leave the auditorium. 

But it's not over. And you just missed your chance to excuse yourself to the lobby that contains a place to watch Doctor Who undisturbed. 

A person who works at the auditorium wheels in a cart with stuff on it. Stuff that makes no sense to you.

The room falls quiet.

It's a raffle you never entered and now must sit through. There are a bunch of items up on that stage. You realize that you are happy you never entered the raffle.

The person who wheeled the cart in is now reading out numbers and audience members are coming up to claim their raffle prizes. 

2283845 just won something that looked like a moldy sandwich.

2283870 has been called six times....about to pull another number when "OH WAIT! You said 70?! That's me." rings across the audience.

At this point you are noticing some bodily discomfort.

2283859 won a blobfish.

This is more than some discomfort, and they're really moving through these numbers fast. 

2238312 won salami candle wax.

You need to excuse yourself to the bathroom and are about to do so. Suddenly you stop. If you get up, someone is going to think you won an item. If someone thinks you won an item, you will have to explain that you are just going to the bathroom in front of the entire auditorium. The conversation has the potential to go something like this. 

you (trombonist) stand up
Raffler: "Congratulations!"
Trombonist: "Wha? Oh no. Im- bathroom."
Raffler: "Come on. Just get your prize. It's not as bad as it looks. I swear it's just brown frosting." 
Trombonist: "But I didn't-"
Raffler: "Didn't enter? Nice try."
Trombonist: "I didn't. I'm just getting up to-"
Raffler: "To come get your prize. Don't be shy. Just come on up h-"
Trombonist: "I WAS JUST GETTING UP TO POOP OKAY!?"

End scenario.

Ha! Bet that's something you never contemplated before. What does a person do to get out of a raffle without drawing attention to themselves?

Here are some brilliant solutions for if you ever find yourself in this kind of a pickle.

Solution 1: See above scenario.

Solution 2: Either try to make it until the end of the raffle or just poop yourself then and there. That'll show 'em.

Solution 3 WARNING: REQUIRES EXTREME SKILL If trombonist, do not attempt:
 Quickly dive to the floor. Slink your way under the seats without touching the legs of people sitting in the seats because touching people you don't know is awkward. Work your way uphill to the back door of the auditorium. There will be a moment between the seats and the door when you are exposed. It is your job to make the quickest dash possible for the door without looking like you're a criminal who just stole something. If you hear angry shouting as the door closes behind you, forego the bathroom and find a place to hide from the police. If you hear a small noise like someone trying to ask if you won the raffle, just go potty.

Solution 4: Stand up and then pretend to pass out. Assuming you are not at a "Convention of Morbidity" raffle, someone will call an ambulance. At that point you can request a bedpan or just go anyway. No one will judge you. You just passed out after all.

Solution 5: Stand up with your trombone. You will look so awkward that everyone will try not to look at you. Bask in the silence a moment and then leave. No one will say a word.

So now you know how to handle the awkward raffle situation.
Also, the new page is still under construction. "The Art of Bass Trombone".

Also, sometimes I leave this on while I write.
http://breadfish.de/
You should click the link. It's life changing.

-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Monday, March 12, 2012

Coming Soon

        Everyone be warned.

                                 A new page is under construction.

               Nazgul's everywhere are taking flight. They fear the new page.

                                                                     It is awkward.

                      A new page of awkwardness.

                                                                                      Are you ready?

This is a blobfish.

You have been warned.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Captured and Imprisoned Again

If you missed it, this is the guest post I did for wanderingwrites.com in the style of the writer for wanderingwrites.com. This does not contain the introduction. Also, the title below is a bit dramatic for my tastes, but it fit in with the Wanderingwrites style.

The Oppression of Left-Handed Trombonists

Dearest friends/readers/ducklings,

It is with a heavy heart that i alert you to an injustice that will affect you, dear reader, in no conceivable way.

A few of you may be surprised to learn that the trombone is an uncommon instrument, but it is more likely that you are momentarily leaving this page to search Google images for a trombone.

Now do you know what it looks like?

Good. We shall continue.

Historically, the trombone has never quite fallen into the category of "sexy". Yes, there is a fair amount of innuendo that follows the trombone, but upon close inspection, one realizes quickly that the trombonists are the reason their instruments are seen as awkward.

Trombonists are awkward. In past blogs i have made it clear that anyone who decides to pick the trombone has been born with an awkward gene, or has had their childhood poop jokes suppressed due to the socially unacceptable nature of poop. But of course, if you like poop jokes you probably have been born with some sort of genetic predisposition to be awkward.

Poor genetics can be considered a disability right?

Let's consider the genetic disbility that brings about red-green colorblindness. People with this disability are having new technology developed to make it easier to live in a world that is missing color. Trombonists born with awkward genes are left to fend for themselves in a world where avoiding eye contact is social suicide.

Life is hard.

Society enjoys pushing unpleasant things out of sight. For starters, trombonists are placed at the back of the orchestra. Not a big deal right? Trombones are loud. But did anyone stop to wonder why the trombone is loud? Maybe it's because trombonists had been trying to get attention for years and when one of them got the bright idea to start playing loud for acknowledgement, the government placed the trombones in the back. All the government needed was a cover excuse that wasn't "they're too awkward to be seen by paying customers" because the media would have reported that as discrimination.

Government? you ask.

Yes. Government. It's a conspiracy. The amount of awkward people on this Earth is regulated by a government that acknowledges the need for awkward people to play the trombone. If there wasn't a need for trombones in every orchestra, all of the awkward people would have probably been exterminated by now. The awkward people are kept in cells under the basement of every orchestra hall in the country. It is here where they are trained to play trombone and encouraged to speak to other "Awkwards" to improve their social skills.

Trombonist 1 (1): "I play trombone."
Trombonist 2 (2): "I play trombone"
Trombonist 3 (3): "I play trombone"
1: "You play trombone?"
2: "I play trombone."
3: "I play trombone."
1: "I play trombone."

There is rarely improvement.

When the need for a trombonist arises in an orchestra, a member of the stage crew, with the help of a uniformed official, reluctantly picks a person to place into society as a trombonist.

Now the real question is how the "awkwards" get captured in the first place.

Basically, if a child decides to pick the trombone of h/is/er own free will, s/he is doomed. After high school or college, anyone who picked the trombone as a sixth grader is whisked away and hidden under an orchestra hall. Even if the kid quit the trombone after a year, s/he is doomed to the same fate because s/he had the initial attraction to the instrument. Picking the instrument means you must have the awkward genetics. 

One will occasionally find people who escaped the relocation. They keep their history under wraps, but it is difficult. Basically, if you know someone who is awkward, that person managed to avoid the government kidnapping by choosing occupations with limited social interaction. All of them played trombone at some point in their lives. I beg of my readers to PLEASE not turn these people in. If you know an awkward person, be friendly and accommodating. No one should have to go through what most trombonists suffer at the hands of the stage crew that poke through the cell bars under the theater. But of course, i don't expect you to be accommodating. Go ahead and pander to the color blind. Throw the "Awkwards" under the bus.  

Now it is time to address the second part of this post. Lefties.

If there was ever a group that was oppressed, it was the lefties. Just a few years ago they were seen as the devil incarnate. Children who were naturally left-handed were forced to learn to write with the right hand. This often required school teachers to use razor wire to tie the left hand behind the back of the student as they learned to write with the opposite hand. Razor wire was used in the hopes that if the student couldn't learn with the right hand, the left hand would be sliced straight off. This left (haha punny) the kid with no choice but to use the right hand.

Today, our society  is just as bad as it was when there were frequent hand lacerations, but it manages to hide prejudices better. The world is still tailored to right-handers. For example, walk into any classroom. Most, if not all, of the desks are for the right handed. If there are any left handed desks, they are shoved to the back in hopes of keeping the devil people as far away as possible. Most computers are for right handed people as well as most musical instruments.

Righties enjoy significant discounts when it comes to buying golf clubs, baseball gloves, and other sports equipment. All of the lefty stuff is priced way higher.  Hot water is on the right, cold on the left. People are better when in their "right mind". When people are correct about something, they are "right". Instead of saying "OK", people will substitute the word "right".

"Left" has bad connotations.

 I "left" my stuff there and it was stolen.

S/he "left" the party too early and missed the goodie bags filled with 50 inch HD TVs.

Sandy was "left" at the cemetery to fend for herself among the awkward dead people that tried to kill her with trombone music and ghostly flatulence.

So where does this leave the trombonists that are left handed? Well, it's funny, the awkward gene must also tie in with left-handedness. The percentage of trombonists who are left handed is higher than average. Still, they are a minority.

The left-handed trombonists tend to be the last people released into society. It would just be too dangerous. They get "left" behind so to speak. When a lefty trombone is released to an orchestra (as a last resort) they are embedded with a GPS locator and are essentially put under house arrest. They can play in an orchestra, but they still have to live in the theater. When the orchestra goes on tour, a trumpet player is assigned to the lefty trombone. This trumpet player is in charge of keeping the lefty out of trouble.

Trumpet players love having power of over people, so they enjoy being the babysitter of the lefty trombone. Usually the lefty is forced to stand perfectly still on snails and trumpet spit while the trumpet player alternates between blasting in h/is/er ear and playing "Pictures at an Exhibition" excerpt over and over and OVER. No one could possibly imagine a worse torture than this.

There is one particularly terrible result that comes out of monitoring the lefty-trombone individuals.

You know those crazy people that think a chip has been embedded into their arm by the government? The ones who hide when planes (and nazguls) fly overhead?  You probably just thought of them as homeless psychos that need to be avoided, or John Nash.



Wrong.

Listen to these people. They are escaped left handed trombonists. Somehow they managed to leave the side of their trumpet lord, and the GPS locator chip means that they are constantly being chased down. Help them stay free!

This is the end of my societal rant. I urge you all to help free the trapped trombonists as i will apparently be one when i graduate college.

Thank you.

-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Social Awkwardness of Singing in Public


Or, Lord of the Sings:
A Guest Post by lizzie mcmizzie

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: i am not Becca. Therefore, i do not play trombone, am not studying music, or am in any way socially awkward. In fact, i am what you might call a completely well-adjusted, totally normal, and otherwise assimilated-to-the-mainstream human being.

Only kidding. Socially awkward people can only be friends with other socially awkward people. And if you’re a category-three socially awkward creature (like Becca and i are) then you should, according to this Times article, keep a blog to publicly channel your frustrations with social mores for the entire world to see. They seem to think that such a public display of awkwardness will help us deal with it better. Or maybe they just got tired of watching The Bachelor and needed fresh meat for entertainment.

By now, you are probably wondering what in Richard-Strauss-Hisself’s-NAME is going on. If i am not Becca, why am i here? Why aren’t there any music jokes yet? WHO IS THIS HIJACKING FIEND WRITING WITH LOWERCASE I’S

This is not going well.

Okay. Let me explain: i am not Becca (WE KNOW THIS ALREADY!) but Becca, most unfortunately for her, has had to be my friend for the past thirteen years – dealing with more socially awkward haircuts and outfits than any best-friend-for-life-and-whatever should have to deal with in a millennia. Seriously. This one time, i lost an opera glove, so i only wore the one i could find in a Michael-Jackson-esque fashion statement. And Becca didn’t leave me stranded alone in the Middle School cafeteria because, contrary to her socially awkward online persona, Becca happens to be the best kind of person in the world. She’s the friend who sticks by you when you’ve outdone yourself in the Academy Awards of Horrendous Clothing and Personal Statement Choices.



Because Becca is so nice (or is just too socially awkward to tell me otherwise, which is actually very possible) she has agreed to this ridiculous idea i proposed to her: a blog swap. She’s over on my high-fallutin’ hippie travel blog RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND talking about how trombonists are oppressed (or something) and has, most likely to her chagrin, left you folk in my hands.

Her mistake.

Because i may not be a trombonist, but i am so most definitely socially awkward.

And more than that, i am a socially awkward once-singer.

Ohhh, yeah, ya’ll don’t even know what just hit you. That’s right – i can throw down music terms like legato and arpeggio too. And, unlike socially awkward trombone players (which is a redundancy, but still. Keeping up appearances) i paid attention in class when we learned such terms. That’s because i sing, and therefore think i am the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ANY MUSICAL COMPOSITION EVER MADE.

This is true. Ask Andrew Llyod Webber. Or Claude Michel-Schöenberg. Singers are very, very important.

I’m just kidding, of course singers are not the most important of anything ever written. They just think they are. (Especially first sopranos – but never mind that; let’s get back to the title of the post). In fact, many singers think themselves to be so important that they need to let the whole world know how capital-G Great they are. For example, a typical conversation with a first soprano singer of average singing ego might go a little bit like this:

Totally Normal Non-Singer Person: Hi there! My name is –
Singer of Average Singing Ego: I’m sorry, I only have time for the names of Directors or Agents or American Idol Judges. Do you fall into one of those categories?
Totally Normal Non-Singer Person: (slightly bewildered) Oh! I’m sorry, I don’t, but why do you only have time for such pretentious-sounding folk?
Singer of Average Singing Ego: Wellllll, because I AM A SINGER.
Totally Normal Non-Singer Person: Really?! That’s so incredibly cool! Are you like Adele? Can you sing for me?
Singer of Average Singing Ego: DON’T BE RIDICULOUS. WHY WOULD I WASTE MY PRECIOUS BREATH ON YOU, A MEAGER HUMAN BEING OF MINIMAL SIGNIFIGANCE BEYONE PURCHASING MY SELF-MADE DEBUT RECORD OF CELTIC-INFUSED-QUASI-OPERATICE-COVERS?
Totally Normal Non-Singer Person: (looking around desperately for a way out of the conversation) Oh, right, brilliant. Good for you. Look, I’ve got to go –
Singer of Average Singing Ego: Ta-ta darling! Lovely meeting you! (blows kisses before taking an enormous sip of a chai-spice-infused-lemon tea-like concoction)

See what i mean? Singers of average Singer-Egos are forces to reckon with. I urge wide berth to all you trombonists, most especially.

To give them their due credit, though, i must confess: they do get one thing right in the (albeit often one-sided) conversations they conduct. Singers, as a general rule, usually prefer not to sing spontaneously, a capella, and while waiting in line at a coffee shop. And yet, whenever one declares oneself to be a singer (even sans-American-Idol-t-shirt) an inevitable conversation from non-musicians is certain to ensue:

Normal Person: Blah blah blah – Oh I love this song!
Closeted Singer: Yeah me too! I sang this for a voice recital once.
Normal Person: Wait, really?! You’re a singer? That’s awesome! Do you sound like Adele? 
Closeted Singer: Um, well, no. Not exactly.
Normal Person: Awww, why not?
Closeted Singer: Well, Adele is a second alto and she’s got that great belt-y quality to her voice, but I’m –
Normal Person: She wears a belt in her voice?
Closeted Singer: Uh… no. I mean she’s really powerful, but I’m –
Normal Person: Like how she is standing up for herself against her ex-boyfriend?
Closeted Singer: …sort of …
Normal Person: Wait, wait wait, since you’re a sing just like Adele -
Closeted Singer: I’m actually not!
Normal Person:  - whatever. You sing. Will you sing something for me? Please?
Closeted Singer: Um…
Normal Person: PLEASE OH MY GAWD I WILL DIE IF YOU DO NOT SING FOR ME RIGHT NOW.
Closeted Singer: I’m really not comfortable breaking out into a mezzo-soprano Italian Aria right now.
Normal Person: WHAT? WHAT THE HECK IS A MATZAH BALL AREA?
Closeted Singer: …Never mind.

See what i mean? You give ‘em an inch, and they run halfway to Britain clamoring for Simon Cowell.

Simply by saying that you like to sing, have once sung a piece, or even that in high school you were the ultimate soloist in your Highly Advanced Chamber Elite Fancy Pants Ensemble is not – necessarily – an invitation for someone to solicit your vocal talents. Breaking out into a Bizet aria in the middle of class is hardly conducive to making friends (pro-tip for the socially awkward!), but can only heighten the anxiety and awkwardness of the situation. You aren’t warmed up, you aren’t giving your starting note, you don’t have accompaniment, and most of all you haven’t had your chai-spice-infused-lemon tea-like concoction to lubricate the vocal chords.


Major. Problem.

Should someone decide, though, to brave the imposing challenges before and bust out their best rendition of “Unchained Melody,” they probably fall into one of the two following categories: (a) they are very, very good – and know this to be so, thus they are seeking your unwavering devotion and praise; or (b) very, very bad – and do not know this to be so, and yet they still are seeking your unwavering devotion and praise.

Either one of these situations is awkward. Presented before the audience, in either case, is the inevitability that always ensues after a brazen soul has graced you with their singing presence. No matter their ability level, you feel compelled to applaud their singing talents and encourage them to continue to pursue their dreams as the future Our Lady of Jennifer Hudson in America. The conversation when the aforementioned singer is in high need of a Cowell-ous (get it?! Callous?!) reprimand can make an already awkward conversation one of excruciating agony. It might go like this:

Normal Person: Wow…. That was, well…that was really interesting… [Holy Mother of Gandalf, my dead dog could rise up from the grave and do better with ghostly flatulents than that piece of poo!]
Falsely-Beauteous Singer: I knowwww, right?! Like, I can’t believe I didn’t get the lead in the school musical. [I’m just so great. Like, so so so great.]
Normal Person: Yeah, whew. What the director must have been thinking! [I might have to gauge out my eardrums so they stop reverberating with the Yodels from Mordor.]
Falsely-Beauteous Singer: Want me to sing something else for you?! [PLEASE! I’M SUCH A GOOF GALINDA FROM WICKED IF YOU JUST GIMME A CHANCE!]
Normal Person: Um, well, maybe we could go for another cup of coffee? Or get the bill? [CHECK PLEASE.]
Falsely-Beauteous Singer: PERFECT! Here it goes: POPULAR! I’M GONNA BE POP-UUUUUU-LEEERRRR


See what i mean? Utter. Disaster.

Because, ultimately, here’s the deal with musicians: a mere glimpse into musical abilities does not necessarily do justice to the full breadth of one’s talent. Yes, even the Wicked fangirl might actually be Glee material someday. One doesn’t simply ask an architect to walk into Mordor sketch up a building randomly (unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio and in need of a member for the Dream Team) or a pharmacist to write up a prescription without more knowledge and planning. Singing – and playing the trombone – are hard-earned skills that cannot be trivialized by a spontaneous performance.

So, should you wish to hear that person sing, or give yourself an excuse to escape the crippling conversation with that left-handed trombonist, ask when their next performance might be. Support the arts, and purchase tickets to see artists when they are in their prime. You might learn yourself up real good in attending a ballet or symphony performance and, best of all, you don’t even have to talk to the musicians!

Okay, folks, that’s all the once-singer and rogue opera-glove-wearing hippie-dippie has for you today. No worries, you’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming with your favorite trombonist next time! (But, if you really miss her, she’s got a pretty hilarious post about being a left-handed trombonist over on my blog should you like a look! There is also a chance for you to enter a giveaway of awesome postcards and other prizes). Hopefully this rant hasn’t dissuaded you from coming back for more clever cartoons by Becca in the future.

So, Becca? Thanks for still talking to me when i refused to speak anything but “French” when we were six years old. You are, of course, always welcome to join my women’s thespian society.

-the socially awkward sidekick, lizzie mcmizzie