Sometimes You Just Gotta Fake the Flute

Did you know I played the flute? Well, I don’t. Yet for one magical year, I was a flutist for our high school marching band, and I never played an incorrect note. How can this be you ask? Read on.

We meant business
We meant business

My high school’s band was (and is) pretty badass—always at least state finalists and occasionally state champions. Being in the band was cool, and I had many friends who were members, including some of my best friends. It was an amazingly talented group of kids, but I wasn’t one of them.

With the band season of my senior year a couple weeks from starting, my friends were throwing a band party and invited me to come as “an honorary member.” It was at that very moment that it dawned on me: I didn’t want to be an honorary member—I wanted to be the real thing.

The next day I walked into the somewhat unapproachable band director’s office and boldly told him that I wanted to join the band. I really don’t know what I was expecting, since I didn’t play an instrument. To this day, I wonder what ran through his head. Two weeks away from his first competition of the year, and a senior waltzes in and announces she wants in.

He sized me up a bit and replied, “We have two openings. The first one is bass drum.” I love drums! I can bang a drum! Let me be a drummer! But once he told me how much they weighed and the physical toll it took, I knew my already bad back had knocked that option out of the running. No bass drum.

“Our second opening is in the flute line,” he offered. I was crestfallen. “Oh. Sorry. I don’t play the flute.” I started my turn to leave when he said, “Well…you wouldn’t play it…you would merely fill the interval…” he emphasized, as though he was speaking to an idiot. I guess I qualified.

He went on to explain that the program had been written and rehearsed when suddenly a flute player had to move away…leaving a hole in the presentation. I would simply learn the steps and pretend to play, filling the hole she left.

band 2Shoot, I could fill a hole, I told him. And over the next two weeks, I learned the steps and had a ridiculous amount of fun doing so. By the time we had our first competition, I was ready to march.

I didn’t miss a step. Here I was…amidst this wonderfully talented group of musicians on a huge field, being cheered on…it was an awesome experience. I could do this!

And I did. For the whole season, I filled that interval—I stepped where I was supposed to, danced, boogied, and jammed when I should, and never played a wrong note—because I played none at all. Judges would walk right past me and never know because the great music surrounding me filled any void my little ol’ flute might have left.

I traveled to all of the competitions—including playing on Soldier Field. We performed in the rain, the cold, the wind—nothing stopped us. I always admired the real musicians whose frozen fingers actually had to move with precision, while mine only needed to look the part. They were a great bunch of kids—so talented.

Once when we performed for a pep rally in our own gym, I had non-band friends come up to me afterward and say, “Hey—I never knew you played the flute! You were great!” to which I replied, “Well, I’m not playing—I’m just faking it to fill the interval…” and they would pat me on the back and tell me what a great kidder I was. They wouldn’t believe such nonsense as faking the flute. Who does that?

I did. And it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. All because in one moment’s realization I decided I wanted to be a part of something. Something I had no business being a part of, yet because I stepped out of my comfort zone, I found that there was indeed a place for me.flute

A wacky, crazy place—but a place for me—a one-of-a-kind place for me.

Sometimes you just have to take the chance in life that results in your version of “faking the flute.” If I would have bothered to think through my impulse to truly be in the band—if I would have considered things like the fact that I didn’t play an instrument…that the season was about to start…that I had never expressed an interest to the band director before—I would have missed out.

I wonder now, with all of life’s responsibilities weighing in on every choice I make, how many times does a chance to “fake the flute” pass me by? Sometimes logic is the enemy of adventure. I need to keep a lookout for the next hole that just might need my filling.

And you, too, friends: please be open to the crazy opportunities that come your way. You just may go on a journey you never knew existed—and make memories for which one day you will be very grateful.

Zeb and Sam

For today’s Frabjous Friday offering, I’m sharing something about one of our beloved dogs.

He bears a striking resemblance to Zebulon Walton (aka Grandpa) from The Waltons. For no apparently good reason, this brings me joy. I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

Zeb and Sam. Two lovable old souls.
Zeb and Sam. Two lovable old souls.

It’s Not About the Nail

Today’s Frabjous Friday offering is just downright amusing. I’m thinking the men will be loving it more than the women, but for those of us women who can laugh at our (sometimes) selves, you will love this video, too.

I know I have been guilty of requesting that my husband just listen and not “fix,” and sometimes that is SPOT ON to what is needed.

But sometimes, girls…it IS about the nail.

It’s More Than Okay to Be Silly

The Stache Stands Alone.
The Stache stands alone.

Sometimes teachable moments come with wigs and fake mustaches.

For those of you who know me personally, it may come as a surprise when I say that up until this weekend, I’m pretty sure my husband and I hadn’t yet mortally embarrassed our son, Tony. Sure, there’s been lots of “Mom, would you please stop (dancing, singing, being generally goofy, etc.)??” After all, I am me. But this weekend brought a little more significant mortification potential.

A dear friend’s birthday party was also a costume party, and Mike and I knew it was our calling to attend as the 80s pop duo Hall and Oates. The look came together pretty nicely and included a mullet wig for Mike/Hall and a black, curly wig for me/Oates.

Mike grew some sideburn chops for his look, and with a little coloring help, they blended right into his mullet that was fanned out into a coif of 80s glory. Daryl would be proud.

I'm Oates.
I’m Oates.

My Oates wig could also serve as the wig Jan Brady wore in her attempt to get noticed over Marcia in the Brady Bunch movie parody, as well as Groucho Marx or Mr. Kotter (at least that was the word on the street). To complete the rockin’ look, I sported a groovy ‘stache (see above) that just may have looked like a newly born puppy snuggling on my upper lip.

We looked authentic, as some people might say. Others…might say other things.

Since the party was a surprise (and kids were included), we kept our son out of the loop so he wouldn’t spill the beans, and when we did finally explain, he was apprehensively excited. “You’re going to wear those?” While he thought it was very funny, he also had the nervous laugh of someone who didn’t know if he should run away from home now or later.

When we donned the full look and got into the car to go to the party, Tony’s mortification settled in. He was wearing his Halloween costume which, though it was a biker skeleton dude, was still much subtler than his parents. We all enjoyed pulling up to stoplights and seeing people notice us, but the idea that people we knew and loved were going to see us making fools of ourselves was unsettling to him.

We reassured him that it was going to be better than all right—it was going to be downright fun. Over the course of the ride, he accepted that he was going to live through whatever the night might bring.

He is our kid, after all, and he does have a very big silly bone. But he is also at that stage of weighing what other people think and deciding how much all that matters—and sometimes that doesn’t make it easy to embrace your inner silly.

At the party, there were people in varying degrees of costume—some full blown participants and others who had a little something on in the spirit of things. I think I’m safe in saying most people were amused at our look. From the bad hair to the increasingly moist ‘stache (how do you mustache-wearers eat and drink with that thing?!?!), there were lots of giggles to be had. Let’s just say Hall and Oates kissed a few times. Let’s just say it was weird.

Over the course of the night, Tony went from being embarrassed to wanting to wear my mustache and wig.  He realized that it was more than okay to be silly—it was a whole lot of fun. Fun for us and fun for others. Sometimes you just gotta let your hair down. Or your fro out, so to speak.

I hope the lesson sticks for him, but I know it will be a lifelong journey of knowing that it’s okay to let the silly out. Luckily, he’s got a mom and dad who can be pretty serious about being silly.

The wigs are put away for now, but they can be ready at a moment’s notice…

Frabjous Friday

I’m debuting a new category today: Frabjous Friday. My goal is to share a little something that makes me smile, in hopes that you’ll smile, too.

Here goes round one. If this doesn’t make you smile, then message me and I will help you find a good therapist.

(I would love it if you would let me know if I am successful in my goal of bringing something positive to your day!)

And Then There Were 52

know nothingThis is my 52nd post. Not quite exactly a year ago, I started this little blog. By “started,” I mean actually committed to writing it. It existed in other incarnations for…years. But a year ago, I told myself that I was going to post every Monday, and I have lived up to that internal promise. I’m glad for that. Continue reading “And Then There Were 52”