Sunday, April 25, 2010

Maid Finds the Body

My wife wants to get a maid. I'm shocked, not because I am quite tidy, pick up after myself, and do the laundry, but because this one act is a sure death sentence. Honestly, when you think about it, in many celebrity deaths, who finds the body: the MAID! Heath Ledger, the maid found the body. The late, beautiful, Anna Nicole Smith, the maid found the body. This can't be mere coincidence; it happens far too much. These maids should be looked into; there's something going on.

And you can't tell me these maids don't snoop around in your stuff. My guess is they have huge parties on the weekends where they each bring a pair of stolen underpants from their client's homes and twirl them around in the air while they're dancing. The evening likely culminates with considerable hooting and hollering surrounding a barely-controlled underpants auction. It's probably a big laugh to them.

No, there will be no maid around my house to kill me and then, surprise, find the body, and then sell my underwear to the highest bidder. I remain tidy as both a courtesy and an act of life preservation.

One more thing: in case we get a maid and she finds my lifeless body slumped over my Connie Stevens scrapbook, this will be valuable evidence, and more important, a legacy of "I told you so."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Green Tambourine

Long ago, I played guitar for Saturday's Children, a band that had the good fortune to open for The Lemon Pipers at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. We shared a cluttered makeshift dressing room, and The Lemon Pipers arrived with much fanfare, carrying a green tambourine backstage. When their equipment man brought it in the dressing room, the lead Lemon Piper warned us, "Dig, give the tambourine its space." They used it in the show because that was a symbol of their big hit, "Green Tambourine." While we were tuning up in a quiet corner backstage, one of the Lemon Pipers insulted me, saying, in a very smug tone, that I didn't look like a guitar player, rather I looked more like an organ player. I'm still not sure what he meant by that, but I took it as an effort to put me in my place and was stunned by the unsolicited comment. But since we were the opening act and were clearly in the presence of greatness, and I was never one for a snappy comeback, I let it go. Later, after struggling with imagining all the things I should have said, my frustration forced me into a desperate act. When no one was looking, during the sound-check, I hid the tambourine in our drummer's snare-drum case.

When The Lemon Pipers were ready to play, they frantically tore the place apart looking for the green tambourine, and the "dig-the-tambourine-guy" refused to go on stage without it. We genuinely offered the use of our regular non-green tambourine (which, clearly, did not have its own space), but they sneered at the offer. There was lots of blaming and shouting about the prudence of a back-up tambourine, but they eventually took the stage and played a not-very-memorable show. While we were packing up, I mentioned to The Lemon Pipers that they would have likely brought the house down if only they had that green tambourine. They were suspicious, and their lack of response seemed to indicate they weren't entirely certain of my sympathy.
We packed up and got the heck outta there and they didn't bother saying good-bye to us. To them, we were just one more faceless opening act with a mismatched guitar player.

As far as I know, that was their one and only hit, and I wondered if the loss of the green tambourine demoralized them, sending them spiraling into a period of writer's block and infighting, and eventually into the musician's worst nightmare, the return to a day job. The thought of their rapid descent into rock and roll oblivion on account of my reckless act began to bother me, so I eventually gave the tambourine to my girlfriend, and she had it hanging on a nail on the wall of her bedroom for many years. I couldn't stand to look at it as it reminded me of how I may have ruined the lives of those five musicians. I'm pretty sure it's the reason my girlfriend and I broke up.

And now, when I hear "Green Tambourine" on the radio, I think of that snarky Lemon Piper and how, after all these years, I still haven't thought of a really clever comeback to his insinuation.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reckless Trombonist

You might tell me I'm nuts, but I think I've uncovered and solved a medical mystery within a matter of days. Before the medical journals get their hands this, I'm calling it the "Trombone Syndrome." And you can be sure it won't be long before the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta will be sending out an official warning, complete with press releases and coverage by medical analysts on all the cable networks. And I don't doubt that some celebrity like Sean Penn will attach their name to the cause in order for the public to forgive their past jackassian behavior.

Like many great discoveries, this started in a very serendipitous manner. I was at a party this past weekend and they had a salsa band playing all sorts of music designed to make everyone dance like that Chiquita Banana lady of years ago. Well, my hips don't do that sort of thing anymore so I decided to get up close and let the music pour through me, figuring that would be enough of an experience. First, let me tell you, the trombone player was an attractive young woman and I was watching her, trying to decide if the trombone was a sexy instrument; it's not, no matter how you look at it. The thing is just too cumbersome and looks like the underside of my kitchen sink. Even if the trombonist has long, raven-colored hair and is sporting a fancy red beret tilted to one side, it will not offset the awkward nature of the instrument. I don't know what my wife ever saw in that trombone player from Chicago. I'm guessing they broke up because of his instrument (I'm talking about the trombone).

During one of the breaks, I casually mentioned to the salsa trombonist that she look into the maracas instead of that unwieldy bunch of plumbing she was holding. She seemed sort of offended and took little note of my culinary recommendations in regards to the best dips on the buffet table, purposely sampling the ones I thoughtfully indicated were not up to my salsa standards. Did I mention she had a cold? She did; little balls of tissue stuck in her pockets.

So then the band begins playing again, and during one loud passage, the trombone player aimed her instrument at me and let out a blast, and I swear I felt some sort of mist hit my neck. Now I have a cold and I think that's how I caught it, from the trombone. I'm thinking this is not the first time this has happened. These salsa bands (especially the ones with careless trombonists) should issue a warning before taking the stage. There is no telling how many people have unknowingly suffered through the years from virus-spreading trombones.

And another thing: The band ignored my repeated requests to play "Help Me, Rhonda." What kind of band doesn't play this classic party-starter, especially when asked by someone who shows a genuine interest in the spirit of the salsa. And according to my informal survey, taken at the beverage table, other party-goers, too, occasionally enjoy hearing the catchy melody of "Help Me, Rhonda."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Romancing the Egg

We had our annual Easter egg hunt, and again this year, no one was injured, though there were some bruised feelings, and I don't mind saying they were mine. The hunt covers a small territory, the kitchen and dining room, so everything is easy to find. It's really about tradition, not some kind of trickery where a hard-to-find egg winds up emitting a terrible odor several weeks later from it's then not-so-hard-to-find hiding place. Each year I place a medium-sized plastic pull-apart egg in plain view (so it's easy for my wife to find). Inside the egg is a carefully-folded certificate for an evening of romance, complete with dinner, wine, snuggling, and then who knows where the evening goes. It's a distinctive egg, bright pink with the words "LOOK HERE" printed on the outside.

Well, this year my ever-so-wiley wife let the cat find and open the egg. She claimed she forgot about it's significance, shrugged it off, pointed to the cat and said, I hope you and Miss Pickles have a lovely evening. I realize the cat found the egg, but I draw the line at taking the cat out for a fancy dinner in one of those atmospheric places with wine, mood lighting, swirly rolls in a basket, and cellophane encased toothpicks. Pickles is a pretty smart cat but I'm quite certain she can't read, so I'm declaring the certificate null and void, and as long as I keep food in her bowl, she will harbor no grudge.

But this ship has to be turned around, pronto. Having to wait a full year for another chance at a romantic evening doesn't seem fair for someone who still turns up the radio when Gino Vanelli is singing "I Just Wanna Stop." And that's not the half of it. Last year I forgot to sign the certificate, thinking she'd know it was me who placed it there. Anyway, she claimed someone put junk mail in the egg. This has gone on far too long, and besides, the expiration date on my Venezuelan Love Cologne is sometime in August.

I'm putting another egg together right away and announcing our next egg hunt: "No Housework Day" (April 7th), a holiday that, quite frankly, is celebrated all year long at our house, but this will make it guilt-free and special. And I'm signing the certificate in the presence of a witness, Paul "Jenky" Jenkins, my friend from junior high who is honest and punctual, as well as being an accomplished accordion player with several framed certificates saying as such.

And the egg will be taped shut so the cat can't get at it.