I remember missing being able to sit in the pep rally as a regular person. So...I wonder when this band obligation started. I think band started in 4th grade. But I wonder if it was only the older kids, say, those in 7th and 8th grade, who had to play in the band. Yeah. I bet it was something like that because it wasn't the full band there.
I played the drums. But I guess it was decided by the band director that I was the worst drummer in my grade. There were three of us. One was a guy from Texas with pushy parents who put him in all kinds of shit. He did some television commercials, for example. The mother was a real bitch. She was our music teacher for one year. Both she and her husband clearly thought that they were better than all of us poor people. I wonder what his father did for a living. He wasn't working in the steel mill or the oil refinery like most of our fathers. He was doing some white collar job, I'm sure.
Anyway, the band director thought that I was the worst drummer. Maybe I was. I don't know. That kid with the pushy parents was clearly the best. The other drummer was my friend and, I don't know, perhaps he was better.
Still, I was perfectly competent. But this band director would make me play shit instruments. Snare drum was at the top, then bass drum, then cymbals. If timpani is involved, that's probably above snare drum. If there's a standing cymbal, that's probably between bass and cymbals. Then there's really situational stuff like sleigh bells or whatever that's absolute rock bottom.
For a regular band concert, we'd change it up. I'd do snare for one song, then bass, then cymbals, whatever. But for this pep rally, it was just set. One guy does snare, one does bass, one does cymbals.
So of course I had cymbals. But I was fed up with it at this point. This was three or four years of doing shitty percussion instruments. I was perfectly capable of playing snare. Nobody complained about my work. I was able to read the music. I was able to keep time. But somebody has to play cymbals. And of course it's not going to be that fat, rich bastard.
The thing about the pep rally is that there's no band director. It's just the band. We have to take responsibility for when to play, what to play, whatever.
I was done with it. This might have been 8th grade. I knew that we were graduating soon. So I said, "I'm on strike" and refused to play the cymbals. I just sat there for the full pep rally. Fuck it. You want cymbal crashes, you play the cymbals.
There was a buzz. "Pedro isn't playing the cymbals! He's on strike!"
Nobody else noticed. The teachers, the students who weren't in the band, nobody noticed. Nobody gave a shit. Noboday was saying, "Hey, where's the cymbal crashes during the national anthemn?". Nobody cared.
But that was my protest. I was sick of being treated like some shit drummer.
Next week, it's band class. Band director asks the class how the pep rally went. Dick says, "It went great. Everyone played except Pedro."
Dick is a guy I walked to school with every day. We weren't friends but he lived near to me so we walked to school every day with another kid. I wasn't really friends with him either. No discourtesy to these guys, it's just that I wasn't sociable.
So why is Dick trying to get me in trouble? Because he's an asshole. That's it. He was a quiet kid, generally, but he was looking for some attention, I guess. So let's get Pedro in trouble. Dick played the trombone, by the way.
The band director asks me why I wasn't playing. I said because I was sick. He said asked if I went to see the nurse. I said no. He said why not. I said, "The nurse isn't there in the afternoon", which is true. He dropped it but was clearly angry and didn't believe me.
Afterwards, Dick says to me, "You were lying so hard" and all this.
It was all just so pointless. I didn't have any "beef" with this guy, nor he with me. So...why try to get me in trouble? Nobody else was doing this. Just this guy. This guy who I walked to school with every day. Just because he wanted some attention, I guess. It's bizarre.
Is there other news? Well, not that that was news. That happened 25 years ago. Is that the first band story I've told? It might be. So goes to show that there are still stories to be told. Maybe I told the story about how I urinated myself as this crazy band director was screaming at me.
That guy is still teaching. He taught my niece but she ended up quitting band because of his crazy behaviour. 46 years of teaching experience. That guy must be 80 now.
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