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.


  1. I used to have one when I was a kid. I loved it.

  2. I'm cracking up over the image of you smiling while madly playing a triangle in the school play. Good stuff.

  3. xanthippe--I'll have to remember that one. Ha! Funny post, David. It brought back a few memories. My sister used to play the Glockenspiel in our high school band. :-)

  4. I loved this toy so much when I was little and so did my kids. Although, I think my kids loved it more just for driving me nuts with it! lol Great post. :)

  5. Ewww Mr. H sounds like a creepster!! And someone who obviously didn't care about education. What a shame. There are too many teachers like him in the public school system here. Sigh.

    You should get back into playing the triangle again. And join a band. And then do a blog post about it. ;)

  6. Wow! I never expected an innocent little xylophone to be mixed up in such a sordid tale...tsk tsk :-)

  7. HA I had the exact same image as Tim ~ you with a goofy smile all proud with your triangle.

  8. David when my children were kids studying English they always had Xylophone for X. They are still doing that now!

    I have a totally different take on 'X' :)

    Life on The Farm

  9. Ha! Now that was a good laugh. And I love the Glockenspiel! And xanthic?--that's not a bad alternative at all. Xanthic fever, xanthic tail, terrible xanthic eyes. You know, now, that I'm going to have to work this into a conversation soon. Before it's lost, of course.
    And good for you on the award from Scots Lass. Keep 'em coming! Ting, ting on the triangle. ;)
    (Dang I'm going to have that Tainted Love song in my head all night.)

  10. I'm glad you remembered X, David. This was a fun post. I needed the laugh. [Specially, it was in reaction to that Bee Gee that got away. Cute.] Thanks!

  11. Bit close to the bone here. We had a music teacher like that, but more interested in the boys than girls. UGH. There were complaints,he left quietly and died a few years later...*wanders off grumbling about teachers who abuse kids*
    But hey, Champers time David! YAY! We did it!!!! See you tomorrow, Cheers!

  12. X is often a neglected letter! I love this post :0) Here's another use for x....xoxo

  13. I thought about reading the dictionary for x. Great post! I never wanted to play the xylophone or any instrument in elementary besides the piano...that never happened.


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