Business Majors

What was it, 1991. An ethnic-German Protestant minister in a little ethnic-German town in Romania was telling us a story about a Romanian telling a member of the Gypsy minority there that “Gypsies are the lowest form of life” and the Gypsy responding, “You should be glad we’re around, otherwise you would be.”

Occasionally that conversation pops into my mind and reminds me how pathetic people are, needing to look down on someone else. Or, how pathetic people need to look down on someone else, maybe. It makes me try harder not to look down on other people.

I have a cousin, she is my favorite cousin which is saying a lot because I have several cousins I’m crazy about. One of her sons, who is a great guy, has Down’s Syndrome, so some of us are sensitive about how the word “retard” is used, as you might imagine. In fact, I don’t know that any other word pisses me off so much.

Especially, but not exclusively, when employed by your dumbass business-major types.

It seems I drive past a sheltered workshop on my morning commute. Today, there was one guy sitting outside in the sun, crumpled down in his electric wheelchair. A group of four people exited the building and walked past him. Judging from their faces, and the way two of them walked, they were residents of the sheltered workshop/halfway house, but from what they wore it looked as if they’d all had makeovers. Suits. The woman wore a pantsuit and had a big perm and wore big glasses. They carried briefcases. They looked like business majors on their way to negotiate a deal with a bank. They looked successful and confident.

I thought a few different things at once. I thought, “good on them.” More people should get makeovers, I think. If I were federal chancellor of Austria I would create a Ministry of Makeovers that had the power to snatch people off the streets and give them makeovers and style counselling. I also thought, “if these mentally-challenged people are modeling themselves after business majors, what does that say about business majors?”

Cello news

Currently mangling cello duets by Jacques Offenbach. Wait, here’s a better website. And here’s another one. (Jakob Wiener was his real name? Why would anyone want to change a name like that?)

Besides writing the Can-Can, Offenbach was a cellist and wrote some nice duets. My teacher assigned me another one yesterday, which forces me to learn a new hand position (#3, in addition to the #1 and #4 I’m already dealing with) and also has a fiddly bit, which is what I call this one spot in the music about two-thirds of the way down where two little tiny notes are inserted amongst the regular-sized notes. That’s going to be tricky figuring that out.

I’d also like to learn how to do vibrato, finally, but my teacher is of the opinion that it’s still too early for me, so I’ll just have to be patient.

And the recorder ladies are finally ready to rehearse one or two Purcell tunes, so I will probably be rehearsing those with them next week. The recorder teacher has warned me that she is having her recorder class recital next month, and I will be expected to play with them then; this is only fair I suppose since I bailed out of the cello recital.

Fix It Again, Tony

One of the door handles on my FIAT Dobl

Signs of summer

Weatherman says 30 this Wednesday, which is good, but thunderstorms for Thursday, which is bad because that’s the wee one’s birthday and the yard will be full of 18 witches, or the cellar if the storm comes through.

The trees are blooming, birds are nesting, and our tortoise got high-centered on her first strawberry of the year. I went out to check on her in her large habitat I constructed for her in the yard, sort of a Playboy mansion for tortoises, and there she was atop the strawberry, legs making walking motions but not getting anywhere.

It’s still too cold to leave her out at night, so she sleeps in the office. This morning when I went in to collect her, she heard my voice and came running out from her hiding place to meet me.

Well, running… running for a tortoise.


A friend celebrated her 40th birthday on Saturday with a DJ in her living room, a man in a chef’s hat doing something to asparagus with a blowtorch in her dining room, and several waiters and waitresses shuttling things between the kitchen and a tent out on her deck. Service slowed down as the party grew more crowded so I resorted to serving myself from the tub of ice and beer bottles which stood next to our table. This seemed like a good idea at first.

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There’s a park a couple blocks from where I work and when the weather’s nice like it is today I take walks there at lunchtime. It has a big collection of trees from all over the world, and they’re being sluttish right now in their displays. The magnolia and ume, cherry and pear, they make you blush, the way they wave their sexual organs at you. May is even worse, if you’ve got hay fever; how did I live without Claritin, walking around covered in pollen? Or should I say plant sperm?

On my way back I watched a crow wolfing down a mouse between two cars.

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