Lessons in Etiquette, Vol 2

Dear Internet:
The Gentlemen have done well by the world, I think. And I must confess, friends, that as a result a new and warmish feeling has found home within me. It is a pleasant warmth, dry and airy. A soothing wind of satisfaction, wafting twixt and ‘tween my entrails, greeting each with a “good day, liver!” or a “well done, spleen!” It is most agreeable.

And for what deed have The Gentlemen been so rewarded? Why, for bettering our fellow man, of course! Since publishing our first Lesson in Etiquette, our lives generally and musical performances specifically have been most pleasantly devoid of the impertinent interruptions described therein. Our conclusion? The people must read our electronic missives and adjust their behavior accordingly! What a pleasant surprise.

It is thus filled with confidence that we present our second Lesson in Etiquette. It involves perhaps a less common situation than the first, but still one that deserves your attention. Again, we write in the second-person-present, so as to convey a sense of immediacy.

Lesson Two: You are a musical saxophone person. You pass your days coaxing repetitive melodies from your horn. There is a particular spot in a particular park where you like to toot upon your instrument. The City of New York confers upon you no legal right to said spot. Nor do the citizens reward you for being there. Your money bucket displays plenty of bucket but precious little money. A whole day of bleating earns perhaps a lone dollar or two, crumpled in your pail like beaten prisoners, writhing in agony for having been spent on such shoddy musical product. No, sir, you are no favorite of the people.

You do, however, arrive at your spot near 9 o’clock each morning. So, while the park’s finer performers slumber, you dig in your boots for a full day of noising. Your diligence is most impressive. The Gentlemen applaud you, silently.

However, on one morning you are slow to arrive. Perhaps the burden of your empty money bucket and the squinting ears of disapproving park-goers have become too much to bear. Perhaps you have a dentist appointment. In either case, when you finally drag your jazzaphone to your favorite spot (well into the afternoon), you come upon two finely dressed musical Gentlemen, delighting passersby with song. You are disappointed, of course. You like this spot and are unaccustomed to interlopers. But look how the people do enjoy these two Gentlemen! They are clapping and singing along and tossing their money about willy-nilly.

You should:

(a) Yield the spot to these gentlemen, shoulder your horn-case, and listen for a bit. If time permits, drop one of your miserable dollars into the Gentlemen’s basket, where it may live a comfortable life among its brethren and one day be spent on whisky. Then hunt for a location well out of ear-shot to twiddle with your tooter.

(b) Unsheathe your music-weapon, set yourself adjacent to the Gentlemen, and begin to blow. Pretend that there is no up-tempo man-duo singing beside you. This will be easy to do as your horn conquers all nearby sounds. When said Gentlemen politely question your decision, give them a lengthy and tiresome speech in which you repeat the word “respect” several dozen times. When the Gents counter that your actions perhaps do not show them a great deal of said respect, threaten to pummel them. When the gathered audience cries for more Gentlemen and less saxophone, deliver a lengthy and tiresome speech in which you repeat the word “respect” several dozen times. Then play a repetitive melody at top volume and speed until the crowd disperses.

(c) Same as (a). We repeat choice (a) so that the reader who prefers to pick his answer randomly is twice as likely to choose an appropriate option.

Here, the reader is given time to consider.

Answers! Choice (a) represents the behavior of an ideal and well-mannered park saxophoner and we award top marks to those who chose it. We award nearly-top marks for those who chose (c). Such a choice can only indicate that the chooser chose his choice at random. This is not recommended, but the chooser shall not be penalized. Such are the short-comings of a multiple choice exam.

Sadly, as in lesson one, it is the worst of the options that occurred. That being (b). The offending horn-player still parks himself in his spot daily. If you come across him, we ask that you interrupt him with the following question:

“Pardon me, dear horn-player. I am looking for two well-dressed Gentlemen to delight me with song. Do you know where I might find them?”

Then take the lone dollar from his money bucket.

I remain,
Andy Bean


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