The act of being alive affords many questions which will, if history is any indicator, never be adequately answered. Questions like: Why are we here? (on earth, not the Internet. We’re on the Internet because there’s nothing on TV. The End.) What is the meaning of life? (and I’m not talking about the Monty Python movie) and why do so many people fail to understand that Cilantro tastes like feet?
All of the preceding questions will, no doubt, plague the thoughtful denizens of humanity until Kansas is the last ocean front property or until we run out of Oreo’s, whichever comes first, but as far as I’m concerned, there is one question that supersedes the others, one question that is so deeply mysterious that no amount or quality of think tanks will ever be able to even crack the surface of this mystery inside an enigma. And that question is: What the hell is Gwyneth Paltrow thinking?
I kid, of course. The real mystery of the ages is why do people go to musical performances to have conversations? Have they not heard of restaurants or even living rooms or cars?
Since every written question is rhetorical, by virtue of the lack of human give and take, known as conversations, I will answer for all of you who do not talk at performances. No, they have not heard of these places, nor have they heard of peaceful lakesides, or church where apparently talking is now considered in vogue and-spoiler alert!-the topic of a future rant.
Maybe talkers, (who will be heretofore referred to as Yapsters) think people wander off of the street, decide to become musicians and begin to make a pleasing sound (unless they’re Yoko Ono) with no forethought or sense of accomplishment, when, in fact, they start picking out tunes on the piano as toddlers, tenderly banging their fists against the ivories looking for that next new sound, which will most likely be closer to the cry of raccoons in heat than Gershwin and notice how I didn’t reference Yoko.
For the next ten years, aspiring musicians will be forced to attend lessons, ignoring the pleading teachers and parents who warn said children, if they don’t become rock stars they will have no way of earning a living. (At least that’s what I told my kid.)
Finally, after many student musicians who aren’t meant for the stage have drifted off to concentrate on their acne, those who remain will realize that musical instruments attract members of the opposite sex (or same, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Trademark: Jerry Seinfeld,) and will pour their hearts and souls into learning to play, sing and move around the stage without tripping or looking like Joe Cocker (unless you’re Joe Cocker, in which case, have you taken your medicine?), finally rising from their basements and garages to take the stage in some dingy bar or coffee-house, throw back their heads and let their dreams spew out (this is only for metal heads and those band members who accept every drink bought for them,) only to find that the majority of patrons have attended, not to hear the artfulness of the performers musical expression, but because they’ve left their home in order to start a thousand sentences with the word, “Dude.”
This isn’t only the case with rockers or folk singers, but Barbershop quartets and opera singers, although those at the opera start conversations not with “Dude” but “My Good Man”. In any and all cases, Yapsters not only feel free to gab, chat and generally exhort one another, much to the dismay and/or indignant fury of those who left the house in order to hear the wonder of a human being with the ability to use the same 8 notes (except, once again for Yoko, who has apparently discovered her own musical tools, hitherto unheard by man nor beast) to make a myriad of melodies with instruments and vocal performances, that are so pleasing to the ear as to soothe the savage breast. (Yes, its breast. You have the quote wrong and, once again, the soothing part doesn’t apply to Ms. Ono, bless her heart.)
These talents, and I’ll give you that the word “talent” can be used very loosely in some cases, are everyday occurrences to Yapsters. After all, music plays while they ride in elevators, shop in malls and watch Honey Boo Boo, so what’s the big deal, seems to be the “thinking”. The world owes them a soundtrack and they have no sense of reciprocity. So I will explain this in a patient and respectful way, so that, once and all Yapsters will understand. (They won’t, but since I’m here…)
Here’s the deal: Shut the hell up. When you’re in the elevator, shut the hell up. When you’re watching TV, even if it’s something so f!@#cked up that somewhere Shakespeare is weeping into his hands, shut up! Give yourself the chance to intake rather than output from time to time, or at least at the local bandshell when groups of bent old men, who look as if they’re concealing backpacks by wearing them under the fronts of their shirts and have been practicing for a year for this night where they can achieve warm applause for singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” mostly on key in three and 3/4 part harmony.
Shut up at orchestral presentations and piano recitals. Shut up for the ballet and the young man who only knows three chords but is trying his best on open mic night. Shut up for Yoko. You heard me. You knew what you were getting into when you came so shut up and take it.
And while I’m at it, and this is for your own good, shut up for Stand Up Comics because they make a living with their mind and they will not fail to use it against you in the most tortuous way. Think Braveheart but painful.
Make your kids shut up at the movies. When they ask why they have to be quiet when all the other kids are yapping, explaining that the parents of the other kids are Yapsters and Yapsters are the only group it’s ok to throw things at, then proceed to demonstrate this.
Shut Up! Be Quiet! Pipe Down! Zip your Lip! Shut your Pie Hole! Or Your Cake Hole (Your preference) Dummy up, Dummy!
Pretend you don’t have anything earth-shattering to share (and you don’t. Let’s just face facts), until the lights go up and the applause goes down and then you can alienate your friends and family with your constant chatter on a one-on-one basis which is how nature intended, where face to face, we can all contemplate the age-old questions, such as Why Are We Here?
Answer: Because no one publishes my blog posts so you have to be here in order read them. Next question? Ask me when the show’s over.