By ice rivers
- 664 reads
Ya know how when you go to concerts there's always some doofus yelling out for the performer to play their most overplayed song as if the performer doesn't realize that people want to hear the overplayed song and no matter how much he hates playing the overplayed song over and over again, he's going to have to play it some time during the show and he's already figured out when and where it will fit into the program that will cause him the least discomfort and cessation of creative momentum? Usually that place will be at the very end of the show when the artist can't put it off any longer and where momentum can mercifully end.
Ya know the guy standing fifteen feet away from Dylan after Dylan opens his show with Maggie's Farm who starts yelling for Like a Rolling Stone as if Dylan is not going to play that song.
Or even worse, the guy who starts yelling for "Blowin' in the Wind". Ya know, the guy who has never heard Visions of Johanna but knows every word to Blowin in the Wind and has come to the show for a hootenanny after walking down many roads that have led him to the conclusion that he can indeed call himself a man. And his wife next to him, the woman who married him anyway, who somehow thinks Dylan is going to sing Puff the Magic Dragon or If I were a Carpenter.
Whenever I hear one of those guys, I try to balance out their request by yelling out a request for a song that nobody knows, not even the artist because the song doesn't exist. I picked out a title for this imaginary song, a title unlike any title I have ever heard for a song. The title of the non-existent song that I yell out for the artist to play after a nimrod has just yelled out the name of the artist's most overplayed song, the title of that song is MEATBALL.
I yell out "PLAY MEATBALL".
I've even gone so far as to light my lighter while yelling out PLAY MEATBALL. I've even been pro-active and yelled PLAY MEATBALL before the other guy has yelled out say PLAY BORN TO RUN at a Springsteen show.
Once, sweet Jesus, I was in the front row for a Neil Diamond show with a single ticket that I had won after accidentally being the seventeeth caller. I knew the blue hair next to me would be screaming for "Sweet Caroline" so the instant that Neil took the stage I beat her to the punch by yelling "PLAY MEATBALL". Neil heard me. I think he put a mental comma after "play" so he heard "PLAY,MEATBALL" before he had song a note or strummed his guitar.
Neil was more puzzled then pissed.
So was the blue hair next to me.
Who, now that I think about it, looked a lot like Barabra Bush.
But that's unusual.
Usually, the people around me look at me as if I know something that they don't know which might even indicate that I am an actual "friend of the band" because actual friends of the band are always yelling out things to their friends in the band that nobody but the guys in the band or the friends of the band understand. The old fake in-joke trick.
Those who don't mistake me for an actual friend of the band often regard me as an expert on the band because only an expert on the band would know such an obscure title as MEATBALL and have the insight expressed through his bellowing to suggest to the performer who may have forgotten the song that the exact instant of the yell would be a great time to reach into an ancient bag of tricks, to redistribute the stones in the kaleidoscope by twisting the barrel in a new-old fashioned way.
I usually get a lot of respect when I yell PLAY MEATBALL.
After Krell's bit about the torches in response to Julia's snit fit, I wanted to yell PLAY MEATBALL to see if I could get him back on track but since this was a college class and not a concert I decided to do a variation of PLAY MEATBALL.
I yelled out
"What about Socrates"
"Ovid's response is a perfect example of what we call in education 'a window of instructional opportunity'. In show biz, that's referred to as giving the people what they want or putting the light on the star. Apparently, Ovid wants me to get on with the story of Socrates which is what I wanted to do in the first place but hesitated to do so because I felt as if the venetian blinds were covering the windows and then when we started down the road, we had to take a small detour at the straw man. The good teacher, of which I'm sure Socrates was one, recognizes these windows of instructional opportunity when they arise and usesthem to the advantage of the class. So on we go with Socrates.
"Socrates as a child wasn't handsome but he was probably rich which is a trade off many of us would accept. We assume that he came from a prosperous family because as a young man he had enough leisure time available to master the philosophy of his era.The emerging philosphy consisted largely of various attempts to provide scientific explanations for the origin and structure of the universe. This wasn't going too well because we still hadn't discovered that what goes up must come down and just about everything else regarding science including the concept that the sun rather than the earth was the center of our astronomical system and that the Milky Way is composed of an infinite number of stars and the Milky Way is one of an infinite number of solar systems and that man might not be the center and purpose of the universe. Of course, Galileo added much of that information two thousand years after Socrates and the great Italian scientist was immediately confronted with a mob carrying torches who took him to the Inquisition where the Pope made him promise that he wouldn't tell anybody that the earth moves.
"A smart guy like Socrates could see right off the bat that lots of problems existed within the emerging scientific explanations but he also understood that they were much better than the mythological explanations that were prevalent in his time.
"It's not clear what levels of academic success Socrates attained in his study of science or physical philosophy but we do know that by the start of the Pelopennesian War which occurred when Socrates was in his mid thirties, he had abandoned physical philosophy and began the examination of conduct that he would continue for the rest of his life.
"Apparently that transition which began with alienation from science was precipitated by Socrates' interpretation of an inquiry directed to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi by an Athenian named Chaerephon. According to the oracle.........."
"How do you spell that last name that you mentioned. The guy who asked the question of the oracle. It sounds like 'chair on a phone but I'm sure it's not spelled that way."
"And how do you spell the name of the war that was going on when Socrates was in his thirties"
Krell wrote Chaerephon and Pelopennesian on the board.
Then Julia again
"And, uh, isn't the Milky Way a galaxy and not a solar system?"
Krell heard Julia's question with his back.
When he finished writing the two words on the board, he turned and faced the class.
"Solar system or galaxy, what's the difference?" Krell shrugged his shoulders as if he had been asked to explain the difference between an aardvark and an anteater.
Julia answered. "I should think there would be quite a huge difference as a solar system is part of a galaxy which means a galaxy is bigger than a solar system"
Arthur chimed in. "yeah, and a solar system is smaller than a galaxy"
Krell responded, "Thank you two for overstating the obvious. I was being metaphysical which is of course unfair because you guys still don't know what metaphysics is."
This response fired Arthur's obsession with definition. "Well then, Mr. Krell, can you finally give us a definition of metaphysics"
"Arthur, I can give you a definition of metaphysics but that definition by definition can not be the defintion of metaphysics. Voltaire said 'when he that speaks and he to whom he speaks, neither of them understand what is meant, that is metaphysics '
I thought I understood so I yelled out "I don't understand what you mean"
To which Krell joyfully responded "And I don't understand what you mean when you say you don't understand what I mean"
To which Haylen, who had been quiet since her Greek alphabet recitation at the beginning of the class, added "Eureka. At last we arrive at an example of Voltairean metaphysics, if I am understanding you both incorrectly"
Krell was obviously pleased with the lesson. The venetian blinds were opening and the sun was streaming into the consciousness of at least three of us in the room.
"I always consider solar systems and galaxies to be similar because of the beach. When I walk on the beach, I realize that there are as many stars in our solar system as there are grains of sand on all the sandy beaches of our planet. The sun is one of those grains of sand. Our grain of sand is surrounded by by nine planets, thirty one moons, thousands of planetoids, millions of comets, innumberable meteoroids and vast quantitities of interpplanetary dust and gas. Can you grasp that Ovid"
"No I can't grasp that Mr, Krell"
"Excellent, then I will continue. Our grain of sand, our sun, appears toward the outer rim of our galaxy in which there are billions of other grains of sand like our sun, millions of which are surrounded by moons, planetoids, comets, meteorites and are thus known as solar systems. Now we continue walking down the beach and pick up yet another grain of sand and realize that there are as many galaxies out there in the universe as there are grains of sand on all the beaches on our planet. Every time that we increase the magnitude of our telescopes we discover more galaxies which means the number of galaxies may well be infinite which is even more galaxies than grains of sand. And the universe is expanding and with each expansion more beaches, more grains of sand. Can you comprehend what I'm saying Haylen"
"No sir, I can not comprehend the enormity of what you are saying," answered Haylen.
Julia again, "I can clearly understand what you're saying. You're asking what's the difference between a solar system and a galaxy and you're answering your own question by saying 'hey they're both grains of sand on the grand scale of things so what's the diff'. That's what you are saying"
"Thank you Julia because what you are saying is a perfect example of exactly what I've been saying but I don't suppose you understand why it is such a perfect example"
Julia again, "No, I don't"
Krell again, "You're learning"
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