The Continuing Drudgery & Some Forgotten Weekend Excitement

So I sat down today at my desk and promptly got up to make coffee. The morning’s snow removal delayed my arrival by about 12 minutes, which, in light of the amount of business that happens at the university over the holidays, didn’t mean shit.

I thought of something else that I should’ve asked for for Christmas this morning, and isn’t that always the way? People start (appropriately) badgering each other around Thanksgiving for gift ideas, and at that point, I’m consistently drawing a blank. Maybe I should start seriously contemplating the holiday buying season on Labor Day.

I talked to Schneidie this morning (or rather relayed a few emails back and forth) and got word that Tom Elko is returning to the midwest. I’m anxious to talk to Tom and get the low-down from him. Tom owns a record label, and this reminded me of the weekend’s story that I forgot to tell.

So Joe and I went to the Admirals game on Friday. After the game, we went to meet his brother Steve out at Ambassador, and to have a smoke. I did have a very nice pipe at the bar there, although that fact is relatively inconsequential with regard to the story.

We’re sitting there, and the bar is sparsely peopled, and if you’ve been to Ambassador with any of us, you know that bringing in some music (in the form of a CD) is a fairly common practice. I had just purchased a record called “O” by Damien Rice, because I really liked the song “The Blower’s Daughter,” featured in the movie Closer. I liked the CD a lot, and asked Becky (the bartender) if she would play it.

Well there was this pair of older women (and I mean that relatively; they looked to be in a 44-52 range, agewise) seated at my left, and I think the one closest to me might’ve misunderstood when I asked Becky, “You wanna play my CD?” The older woman almost immediately asked, “This is your CD? This is you singing?” Of course I said no, because I would never presume to take on the identity of a successful recording artist (which I am not). Instead, I told her I produced the record.

Now of course, we have all told innocent white lies, especially in taverns or clubs or the like, most often in the interest of making ourselves seem bigger, or smaller, or simpler, or more complex, but always, alwaysalways, more interesting. Why would I say that I was a record producer? Because I know that having the job of producing records, even if it is not cool, SOUNDS COOL. Why am I telling this to a woman who, strictly from an age disparity standpoint, could be my mother? Well the answer to that is simple: “Why not?” I get to feel cool for a few minutes because I’ve become a record producer without having done any of the work associated with producing records, and she gets to feel cool for a few minutes because she talked to someone at a bar with a cool, interesting job.

What I did not anticipate in saying, “Yeah, I produced this,” are two facts which will immediately make me, the successful producer of a record which has a single in a hit motion picture, look, and, more importantly, feel like a gigantic ass.
1. This woman has an 18-year-old nephew who is an amateur recording artist.
2. This woman’s nephew recently recorded a song that he wrote for his uncle, her brother, WHO DIED IN COMBAT IN FALLUJA, and the song was played for the first time at this soldier’s funeral.

What followed I’m sure you can predict, since you are probably an American, and hence, you have probably seem a sitcom in the past 30 years. Oh yes, she definitely had a copy of the nephew’s CD right here, and could I listen to it, and of course I can, I’m a record producer, I can tell her what I think of the song, definitely, and yes, it is good, I’m not just saying that, no, believe it or not, people don’t ask me to do this all the time, and the thing is, it’s a fantastic story — the nephew, the brother, the Army, the war, all that stuff, and I’d love to take the CD with me, because even if it’s not exactly something I, Mr. Record Producer, would be interested in, the good news is that I have several Record Producer Friends, and it might be up the alley of one of them, so thank you. Yes, I’ll definitely take your email address. Nono, I’ll just get in touch with you.

In retrospect, the thing I regard as thoroughly amazing is that Becky, who knows me and knows what I do, stood behind the bar during this entire exchange and did not call me on my fib, so I probably owe her for that. Morally, I decided that I would need to forward this boy’s CD on to someone I know who has actual contact with the recording industry, and the only one I know like that is one Thomas P. Elko.

My only hope is that he’s still in the business, because otherwise I’m going to hell for sure.

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