Posts Tagged ‘self’
I know a man-child. I had never met one before I joined the veteran’s band, but I did as soon as I started showing up to practice. He stood out. He stands out a lot.
He stands up a lot, too, up in front of the whole band. Though he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if it were welded inside, he’s our lead vocalist.
He isn’t that bad of a singer, I suppose, though his voice warbles out of tune with alarming frequency. He’s American Idol material, if with only this caveat — he’d only be popular in the first half of the season.
At our concerts, he’s introduced as a featured vocal soloist for the Chicago Symphony for “many, many years.” That’s his story he tells. We know that he was in a ridiculously large chorus performing beside the Chicago Symphony for a few performances, and hasn’t been back since. Maybe the director over there got as sick of his one-upmanship and unjustified self-centered diva personality as we should be.
We daren’t kick him out. He has a place here.
At the very least, he qualifies for our veteran’s band, as a former Navy SEAL. We ignore that he was kicked out of the Navy SEALs for getting his Navy SEALs tattoo before he finished training. He tries so hard to do some good, but just when you think he has something between the ears, he goes off and does some fool thing.
Especially on pieces when he’s in the back of the band playing percussion instead of the front singing or narrating, he’ll purposefully say something inane — “I can’t play the cymbal. My music says ‘suspended.’” We”ll look in his general direction to soothe his ego, and we’ll roll our eyes afterward. Our director is the picture of patience. He’s also the picture of subtly wry humor our soloist never picks up on.
He plays every instrument in the band better than the musicians who played professionally, if you believe what he says. You won’t: He can’t quite get a grip even on his bass drum and cymbal.
He is famous for his generosity, and is even more famous for how his generosity is a misguided attempt to purchase our friendship to him. He thinks it’s working because, in spite of it all, we consider him a friend.
He’s a loud, boorish cad, and the band just wouldn’t be the same without him. He’s our loud, boorish cad. That makes all the difference.
Whenever I mention that I don’t have a job, yet, it seems that someone always comes up with the idea that I should be on the radio. I used to say something about how I’d take it under consideration while keeping my scoffs to myself. Time was, I could never see myself in that industry.
It isn’t for any socially unacceptable reasons. I don’t drink like a fish, smoke like a chimney or cuss like a Carlin, and my life’s idol isn’t that Freed guy. After all, those qualities would make me far more comfortable disc jockeying up those magical Interwaves. Instead, my trepidation came from being too gosh-darn weird.
Right now, I’m listening to a shuffled playlist of my top rated songs in iTunes. In a matter of minutes, it goes from Nobuo Uematsu to the stuff from Johnny Cash’s second comeback, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Dr. Demento, from Spoon to Aqua. That doesn’t even get into my other playlists.
The last time someone said that I could be on the radio, I could help but think that there really isn’t a place on a music station for that kind of weird stuff. If I tried to pull off that kind of stunt, I’d just make a fool of myself. Then, I remembered three facts that I had somehow forgotten.
First, I love making a fool of myself. Second, disc jockeys are paid to make fools of themselves. Third, the chance that a walk-in job applicant would immediately be offered a position on the air is probably very, very low, anyway. Among hypothetical jobs, it’s a perfect fit.
Even if I decide against looking for work at a music station, there’s always talk radio. With my boorish tone of voice and sometimes-haphazard flamebait opinions, I’d do even better there.
Tomorrow, I’ll be off to discover how the local radio stations treat walk-in job hunters, so wish me luck. With it, I might get to polluting the magical Interwaves within in a matter of years. Sometimes, radio gigs even pay more than not having a job to begin with.
That would be even better.
America has long been the refuge of, “I’m O.K., You’re O.K.” mentality, and has also long been a haven for those who believe a child’s self-esteem comes first, above all other considerations.
There’s a point too far where this gets creepy.
The stage was set, the lights went down and in a suburban Japanese primary school everyone prepared to enjoy a performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The only snag was that the entire cast was playing the part of Snow White.
For the audience of menacing mothers and feisty fathers, though, the sight of 25 Snow Whites, no dwarfs and no wicked witch was a triumph: a clear victory for Japan’s emerging new class of “Monster Parents.”
Sure, this happened in Japan, but the storyline here seems oddly familiar. Parents, on the quest to improve their small child’s self-esteem, will go insane, verbally abusive lengths. If their kid doesn’t get the starring role in the play, or any other special treatment the parent thinks their child deserves, then the parents will retaliate.
In a new book on the phenomenon, Yoshihiko Morotomi, of Meiji University, lists hundreds of incidents that illustrate it. There are parents who have secretly placed recording devices in their children’s classrooms, and others who have demanded that the results of sports events be changed to reflect expectations rather than the reality on the field. …
Within the category of monster parent Professor Morotomi identifies the most potent strain: the “teacher hunters”, who conspire in small groups to ensure that a particular teacher is dismissed. Occasionally, he said, this involves physically mobbing their victim at the school gates and screaming abuse until a letter of resignation is signed on the spot.
Boggles the mind. I don’t think this behavior so much improves their child’s self-esteem than terrifies the teachers.
Seems to me that, in their fury and haste, those Japanese “Monster Parents” took their eye off the prize: After all, who benefits from having a cast of 25 Snow Whites? I think a commenter from Scotland put it best.
The kid who stands up and says I’ll be the the witch — they’re going places. They will always be mavericks; the others will be just sheep. That’s what we should teach our kids.
I could very easily transpose this whole phenomenon to the soccer fields of American suburbs, and it would make realistic sense as much as it ever does. I wish it didn’t, and I wish I couldn’t.