"I want to play the trumpet" Little Hoss told me. I am a very supportive father, I encourage new experiences! I say yes to adventure and to the unknown! Hard? Pish posh Mary Poppins, we don't like it unless it's difficult!
So of course I said "are you sure? I mean, are you really sure? The trumpet? The very loud trumpet? The trumpet that makes very loud sounds?"
Alright, fuck it, I was not thrilled with the idea of my 5th grader playing the trumpet. I did take her to a real life dinosaur dig this summer so you know what parenting world, you owe me this. That's right, I'm calling in the chits. I can't be the Mister Encourage all interests all the time. And with the trumpet, I'm drawing that line.
I'm not against music. Music is great. Music is just fine thank you very much. Music that doesn't interrupt my peaceful evenings is even better. And yet, who are we kidding. No parent has peaceful evenings. Saying you have a peaceful evenings with kids is like saying you are just going to have a salad at the Chinese buffet. That isn't working tubby, we all know that an all you can eat buffet is a challenge that is questioning your very manhood! So load me up on the stuff I can't pronounce because it's going to meet some stomach. I should work out more.
No, evenings after school and sports are not peaceful. They are peaceful in the way that an artillery firing range is peaceful. Which I mean to say that they are loud and chances are someone is going to get hurt and lose a toe. So I'm not feeling to bad when I decided to perhaps encourage my daughter to check out some other instruments, like the drums. Ha, I'm kidding, I'm not giving my kids sticks and telling them its ok to hit something. I like my walls like they are thank you very much, which is covered in spaghetti sauce for some reason and with no holes. Well, some holes. We got a lot of holes in our walls.
But what about a stringed instrument? Those can sound nice and not like a goose getting the prison treatment from a bigger redneck moose with tattoos that make me uncomfortable. A trumpet is just loud, really really loud. And a new student learning to play the trumpet is going to be loud and pretty bad. And there's lots of spit. I will admit, the spittle would go well with the spaghetti walls.
We went down to the school on instrument night which is when you get 300 kids together and tell them not to worry, learning is fun, blow on this. Man that sounded bad when I read that out loud. I'm leaving it.
I was there for an hour and a half. I sent Bacon Hoss home with mom, you don't want him bored in a crowded room. You ever see that movie Pet Cemetery, that little kid? It's going to be like that only with more "let it go" singing to go with the kneecapped parents. That kid, that kid is a bit rough. Back to the story.
Every kid in the school district is there and all their parents who are looking very nervous and some I think are crying a little bit, those in the trumpet line.
I tell my daughter that man, that trumpet line looks really long, how about we try that short line first. You hate lines, I hate lines, down with lines! Lets do the short line. What's the short line? The flute, hey how about the flute! Jesus plays the flute, Hitler played the trumpet, do you want to be like Hitler? Good, let's be about Jesus, not Hitler. Good life lesson. Parenting at it's finest.
Little Hoss couldn't blow the flute and make a sound. She kept trying and trying but not a squeak. The flute is out. The trumpet line looks pretty long still, how about this line.
The clarinet. Little Hoss loves the clarinet! She can make sounds on the clarinet! Crap. The clarinet, played by a 5th grader, makes a sound that looks like the prison goose is getting off lucky. She wants to play the clarinet. The clarinet is the goose that is getting passed around for smokes and chocolate.
But wait, more lines, lets get in more lines!!!
Tons more lines!
We get in a long one. I know it's not the horn lines, those are obvious by the look of parents who have given up. We wait in this line for a good 20 minutes before we get through the door to see what instrument is this.
Drums. The motherfucking drums. One of these teachers didn't label these lines and I will have my vengeance, in this line or the next. We try the drums. She likes the drums. The drums don't make her dizzy like the clarinet did and she can make a sound on it. She can also make holes in walls without the help of little sticks. The music teacher helps my daughter out, teaching her some basic rhythms. She picks it up pretty well. She's a natural he tells her. My daughter lights up. The teacher and I need to have some words later on, at night, in a dark alley, with drum sticks.
Little Hoss wants to play the drums now but we have time for one more line. A smaller line. It's my hail Mary play so we take it. One more line.
The cello. The sweet, sweet cello. The teacher there was packing up before I jumped forward and asked (pleaded) to stay just 10 minutes longer to give my daughter a chance to try it out. Maybe she will love it, don't you want my daughter to love music? She agrees and I promise to take her out to a nice dinner later. My wife will understand, it's all good. Little Hoss plucks and a nice deep "bong" comes out. She smiles. Then she uses the bow and it's a nice solid note. She tries some other notes and although they are scratchy, they are not a blaring horn. Sorry trumpet people, I don't mean to rip on you but come on, give me this one.
"Ya know" I tell her, "that cello is pretty cool, right? It's big and we all know that bigger is better, right?" She smiles and plays some more. "The cello was played by Katy Perry, and I swear, her and Taylor Swift rock out on the cello all the time." She keeps playing. "You know who doesn't play the cello? Hitler. Hitler didn't play the cello. How about the cello?"
She picks the cello.
She likes it because it is big and apparently several of her friends and their very smart parents have picked the cello! Yeah, go cello!
We are now cello people. I don't know what that means really but as I write this I can hear the constant "bong, bong, bong, bong" of a cello being practiced upstairs. Sure, it's a lot like water torture but it could be worse, it could be a swing band playing up there to a crowd of mental patients. If I focus a little, I can pretend its just a garbage truck backing up, for an entire 1/2 hour every night. Every. Night.
But Little Hoss tells me she has to practice because they are going to learn a new song soon. It's called Bile and Cabbage. Hand to god, I looked it up in her music book. Bile and Cabbage. Not Fur Elise, Bile and Cabbage. Ok, I can do Bile and Cabbage, in fact I think Bile and Cabbage fits just fine around here.