When I close my eyes I can see the maestro standing amidst the audience proudly in his penguin suit. The moment is silent. The crowd ready. He sends his arms skyward and pauses just a moment to allow people to edge forward in their seats. He lowers the baton and ushers forth an invisible stream of music which captivates the crowd behind him. Violins make their angelic tunes as waves of bows sway back and forth like reeds alongside a river bank after the tide returns to sea. The orchestra delivers Johann Bach perfectly to the listeners who in turn applaud with enough emotion to raise the dead guy from his eternal nap. But this is why they have gathered en masse tonight. They showed up for a performance never to forget. They came to wine and dine and be enraptured by the entire shebang before hailing down a cab and heading home.
I think of crap like this when listening to classical music. I’ve had several songs looping through my brain for a few days now so I figured if I write something about it maybe the madness will cease. I am currently infatuated with “Wachet Auf!”For those of you who slept through rudimentary German in high school it means “Sleepers Awake!” And it happens to be one of my favorite pieces. Not that I am a classical music aficionado but I do enjoy it when the mood is right. I wonder what it must be like to compose symphonies and write cantatas that will bring joy to millions of people. Do you think Bach knew the impact he would have on people decades in the future? Sometimes I picture him sitting on his uncomfortable wooden bench with his silly wig in hand contemplating the meaning to his music and wondering if it was all for nothing. I can see him walking around with those goofy stockings and buckle shoes cursing the wind and flinging pencils across his room.
Years ago I read a wonderful book entitled “Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh” which led me to search out this misfit, this vagabond, this sad man stuck in a whirlwind of poverty and mental illness. Just for the record Vinnie never actually wrote an autobiography but composed hundreds of letters to his beloved brother Theo and they were compiled into a book by Irving Stone. In between the pages Van Gogh describes life as a wanderer looking for love, friendship and meaning to things he cannot comprehend. He was labeled an outcast and obsolete by the same society who would come to love his paintings. It’s depressing when I think of him sitting in his seat with his gun loaded and no one around to care for him. I like to think all he wanted to do was inspire someone, to feel wanted. He traveled through London and Paris seeking his place on this globe. Unfortunately, he never found it.
I hope to inspire someone before I walk towards The Light. Once you get passed all the muck, the mire and all the crumby stuff in between most people just want to know if they did life right, if they counted the needs of others more important than their own. I strive to live this way, but I know I don’t always succeed. I just hate knowing (and I am using the word hate here) there are wonderful human beings out there walking around without a friend or uninspired. If I were a king or the President I would make some sort of law that banned unfriendliness…Oh I don’t know, maybe it would go something like this:
I, Gabriel Papparaci, President of the United States and founder of the Foundation for Friends hereby order all to follow these simple yet powerful rules to live by: Be kind and considerate, include all, greet strangers and buy them coffee, do not judge someone by their clothes, do not argue, do not belittle, show respect, invite everyone to your party or no one at all, never forget to say thank you and please, share your lunch with the poor kid, dance with the unpopular chick, accept the nerds invitation to dinner. When you play a sport don’t set a maximum limit on how many can play at one time even if the teams turn out to be sixty-three verses fifty-two. I understand this may get confusing but so be it, just play with more basketballs. Be aware of the bus driver’s feelings even if he is a grump, remember that we are all equal in God’s eyes and no one is better than anybody else, honor the Golden Rule. If any of these laws and bylaws are broken you will be publicly dunked and/or pied depending on which region you live in. Thank you. Also, I love you.
Respectfully yours, the Prez.