Thursday, August 28, 2014

shaping a best-seller

I was talking on the phone with my sister (actually, half-sister, but she's my favorite relative whatever the designation) a couple of evenings back and we rambled through recent family and personal happenings before settling like a couple of bumble bees on "the organ recital."

At 68, my sister is six years my junior, but that doesn't mean she too isn't feeling the pinch that older people feel. She was telling me a story about going out to dinner with a bunch of similarly-aged people and how the conversation, somehow inevitably, sank like a flat-car in quick sand into a recitation of various aches, pains, doctors, hospitals, exercise and other fixer-upper activities which young people find boring, even when they are willing to imagine the same may at some point afflict them.

My sister and I agreed: The older you get, the more likely the organ recital is likely to insert itself in the conversation. My sister and I laughed ruefully -- we too had found ourselves sucked into that maw of physiological frailty.

But another thing we agreed on was this: Not only was the topic likely to bore the socks off anyone else participating in the conversation; it also bored the socks off the one making the conversation. My aches and pains bore me. I would far rather talk about something more imaginative or funny or socially relevant ... and yet here I am, writing about the organ recital. Shiiieeeet!

We laughed about it, my sister and I, and yet when I said there might be a pretty good self-help book in how to avoid or sidestep the organ-recital earth, my sister said immediately, "So write it!"

Or, if not write it, at least think it through. Those unwilling to play the kidney or liver game might write/talk about something else. The trouble is that the something else is too often a regurgitation of someone else's analyses and the speaker is left either being a bore or a pimp. Originality seems to have flown the coop together with youthful energies and there are all sorts of socially-acceptable issues to keen about, but original thinking -- the emphasis and care it once commanded -- has lost its oomph. There is the pretense of 'caring' but the caring is largely on vacation.

I really do think there is a best-seller in this arena -- and not just from some do-good 40-something who uses the word "we" without a second thought -- but I can't think of the hook, the alternative, or the area of relief.

The organ recital is boring.

The second-hand social observation is, well, second-hand.

Perhaps candy bars really are the answer.


  1. A larger market might be how to plague others with your recitals while side stepping their efforts to insinuate their own. But that sounds like conversation's SOP.

    And unless you're among the few who are allergic, it's hard to argue with chocolate.

  2. Having just resurfaced from my own recent Organ Recital ( kidney stone and the scan revealed a whole new shiny aneurism which the docs are keen to put a stent in ) I had to smile, Adam.
    As the London lads would have it.." you 'ave to laugh "...

  3. Peter -- As long as it's not a stale and much-masticated aneurisim, I imagine things may be on a comparative uptick ... and even if they're not, I hope they are.

    Hemingway observed, fortune-cookie fashion, that "courage is grace under pressure," and surely the Brits have taken that to heart, but I think as well, that there is something to be said for plain old, walkabout cowardice... having the courage for cowardice.