Thursday, April 28, 2011
X is for Xylophone
I almost forgot about ‘X’ which would have been rather tragic so close to the end of the A-Z challenge.
Fact is there aren’t many words beginning with ‘X’ and I’m not sure if X-rated counts. But if you pick up a dictionary there are actually more than you think. Talking of which I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Daft Scots Lass for her recent award to Brits in the USA.
Some unusual words beginning with X are xanathareel and xanthic, but people would start looking at me in a strange way if I substituted xanthic for yellow or indeed xanthomic for yellow haired.
I like xanthippe, though. It means ill tempered woman; conceivably you could call an ill tempered woman a xanthippe and escape without being slapped.
Being boring and traditional I will go with xylophone, though. For one thing it sums up the bunker of aspirations that was my fleeting musical career.
At elementary school I harbored dreams of being a musician. I saw the older kids with their shiny trumpets and bugles and felt jealous. Instead we blew listlessly into recorders, which are surely the most uninspiring musical instruments known to humanity.
My manual dexterity was never good. To get to the shiny instruments we had to pass the recorder test. I fumbled and failed and faced the shame of walking to school for two years with recorder in my duffle bag, accompanied by my neighbor with his shiny bugle.
My parents were somewhat relived at my failure as they didn’t have to fork out more than $150 for a brass instrument.
The pinnacle of my musical career took place around the age of 11 when I got to bang a triangle a couple of times in the school play. Mozart eat your heart out.
By the time I went to high school, my musical aspirations had all but drained away.
The music teacher Mr. H, piqued our interest for a couple of lessons by educating us on Dance Macabre before lapsing into his real character – as a lazy, frizzy haired good for nothing.
So for the next x-years music lessons became 40 minutes of undisciplined banging of xylophones and cheaply manufactured Glockenspiels in which the metal notes jumped from their rubber awnings when you hit them.
It would have been more rewarding to hit Mr. H, but he was usually too busy hitting on 15-year-old girls to notice.
Indeed this frizzy haired disgrace to the education system who seemed to believe he was the Bee Gee that got away with his mobile disco, flared pants and 12 inch versions of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, was the talk of the school and the parents, although nobody seemed to complain in those days.
Frequently Mr. H would turn up at an after school disco holding hands with a girl who had left school a week earlier. The rumors of illicit liaisons in the lecture theater swept the school.
“f… &*%%##@@@@,” one of the physical education teachers said in the earshot of a group of 15-year-old and for one hopeful moment, I thought he was going to punch Mr. H in his hamster chops.
I don’t know what happened to Mr. H in the end but I know xylophones in the wrong hands can make a lot of discordant noise but very little music.