Cross THAT Off the Bucket List

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I’ve been playing musical instruments since 4th grade, starting when my mom brought me back a little silver fife from Williamsburg, Virginia. I played it for hours. My brother Sean, a first grader at the time, tried to play his but he couldn’t and said it was “stupid” and “girly” and then I had two fifes.

(He would later go on to be a fantastic trumpet player that could hit the highest of high F’s after not playing for a year, but gave that up for FOOTBALL…)

I played flute in 5th grade, then Mom then dusted off her clarinet and I started playing that in 7th. I couldn’t stop practicing, I loved it so much. I would tape myself on a cassette recorder (for the youngins, it was something we old-timers used to record music with) playing one part, then rewind and have a duet with myself.

Good times.

I played all through high school, then packed the clarinet away before leaving for my freshman year at Kent State where I was majoring in elementary education.

That year, I was MISERABLE without playing.  After 6 + years of playing my clarinet, I missed it, but what could I do? I was too shy and figured everyone at the music building were Juilliard caliber players.

Then it happened.

I heard the soundtrack to “The Little Mermaid” and decided right then and there to change my major to music. I went home, got the clarinet, and practiced in the dead of night at the music building so none of the music majors could hear me in case I sucked real bad.

I auditioned, made it into the school and got a scholarship to boot. I was so excited to change majors.

I met my best friend, Diane, the 2nd day of my sophomore year, the fall of 1991. I walked into the band room, and had NO clue where to sit. You have no idea how terrifying that is…everyone knew everyone, and I was freaking out that I would accidentally sit in the flute section, the HORROR.

Thankfully, Diane recognized me from our clarinet class the day before, and yelled: “Hey, come sit by me!” I loved her that moment, and 24 years later we are still best friends.

In college, I played clarinet, then became the Eb clarinet player (it’s like a piccolo clarinet) for the school. At least I played it for most of the pieces, unless a greedy clarinet grad student took my part because there was a great solo in it. BUT I’M NOT BITTER.

I’m still bitter. 

With all the opportunities,  I wasn’t satisfied with just playing clarinet, I needed to play everything I could get my hands on. Luckily I was indulged greatly by the music faculty, and during my years as a music major I played: piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute, oboe, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, Bass clarinet, contra-bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, and accompanied soloists on the piano.  I was the person that played what no one else wanted to.

One thing I really wanted to do, though, was direct sing. I thought I had a decent voice, but was so unsure of it that I botched all of my singing auditions in high school. One time, I pretended to have a cold when auditioning for “My Fair Lady” and ended up getting the role of a MAN with 3 lines.  My singing was then limited to a few karaoke sessions at dive bars but only after a few wine coolers.

Hardcore.

I eventually sang in church for a few years, but was always uncomfortable. I decided that one day, I would find the opportunity to sing with a band and belt out something before I die.

Then the community band director mentioned needing a vocalist for “Blue Moon.” In a rare moment of “OMG I WANT IT, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEMME HAVE IT!” I asked if I could audition right there. He looked startled and had an “oh-crap-what-if-she-sucks-then-I’ll-have-to-figure-out-how-to-say-no” face, but he let me, and next thing I know, I’m in.

I made it!

So the concert was June 20th, and I got up on stage in a middle school auditorium and sang my heart out. I was not even a little bit nervous, and I’m not sure why. Before a clarinet recital in college I would be ready to hurl 3 seconds before going on stage then break into uncontrollable yawning.

Not this time. I had a lot of friends and family come to see me. The best parts were my husband waving to me like a goober from the very back of the room, my twins yelling: “That’s my mommy!”, and my own mommy beaming at me from a few rows from the front. (She told everyone afterwards: “This is my BABY!”)

Scratch that off the bucket list.

I need to get started on my other items, such as finishing my novel and making millions of dollars, meeting Jon Stewart, and getting my 5 year olds to wipe their butts consistently.

That last one is going to be a doozy!

Weirdest Death Threat, Ever…

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Just to ease your mind right off the bat, the death threat was NOT to me. Most death threats directed towards me are probably from behind someone else’s steering wheel.

A friend of Mr. Who and mine came over the other night, and as we were generally chit chatting, he mentioned that after 12 years of having to work with the Worst Coworker in the History of Coworkers, the Worst Coworker was being moved laterally, horizontally, and possibly Hokey-Pokied into another department within the next 30 days.

Said friend, we will call him Ray Finkle for story purposes, told us this while gleefully rubbing his hands like Mr. Miyagi getting ready to HEATMELD Ralph Macchio’s leg back together. (Does anyone else do the Flamingo Kick when they’re alone? Oh, no? Yeah, me either…)

Now, I’m a bit vague on the details, the when, the why, the where, the how, but Ray Finkle told us that the Worst Coworker made a death threat to Ray and some others in their office. And I cannot wrap my mind around the improvisational intricacy of it.

It’s possible the Worst Coworker had thought this out long beforehand, eagerly awaiting the right moment to lay the Worst Coworker Smackdown on Ray Finkle, but if not, this was on the fly, and…well, I’ll just tell you.

Worst Coworker said:

“You better hope I don’t get a diagnosis of cancer with only 30 days left to live or you will have a shorter life span than me.”

That’s a seriously elaborate death threat right there. Like, he not only mentions possibly dying from cancer himself , but he’s planning on taking a few Good Coworkers down beforehand.

That’s kind of evil. Or ingenious. I’m not sure which. I just know that in the event I would ever make a death threat to someone, it would be more in the form of : “Oh, yeah? Well, I hope you get…uh…eaten by something…uh…large…and hungry, yeah!…with teeth the size of my leg, yeah, so TAKE THAT!”

I’m hardcore.

Hard.

Core.

So the moral of the story is: always have a really awesome death threat at your disposable. Just try not to wish cancer on yourself doing so.

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