Giant Dreams Midget Abilities by David Sedaris read by Teacher Alyse.
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"WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING YOUR GUITAR, MAKE BELIEVE YOU'RE PLAYING AN ACTUAL WOMAN," MISTER MANCINI TOLD ME. "GRAB HER BY THE NECK AND MAKE HER HOLLER."
My father loves jazz and has an extensive collection of records and reel-to-reel tapes he used to enjoy after returning home from work. He might have entered the house in a foul mood, but once he had his Dexter Gordon and a vodka martini, the stress melted away and everything was "Beautiful, baby, just beautiful." The instant the needle hit that record, he'd loosen his tie and become something other than the conservative engineer with a pocketful of IBM pencils embossed with the command think.
"Man, oh man, will you get a load of the chops on this guy? I saw him once at the Blue Note, and I mean to tell you that he blew me right out of my chair! A talent like that comes along only once in a lifetime. The guy was an absolute comet, and there I was in the front row. Can you imagine that?"
"Gee," I'd say. "I bet that was really interesting."
Empathy was the wrong tack, as it seemed only to irritate him.
"You don't know the half of it," my father would say. " 'Really interesting' my butt. You haven't got a clue. You could have taken a hatchet and cut the man's lips right off his face, chopped them off at the quick, and he still would have played better than anyone else out there. That's how good he was."
Because it was the music we'd grown up with, I liked to think that my sisters and I had a genuine appreciation for jazz. We preferred it over the music our friends were listening to, yet nothing we did or said could convince him of our devotion. Aside from replaying the tune on your own instrument, how could you prove you were really listening? It was as if he expected us to change color at the end of each selection.