“Music is the lubricant of life. Don’t you agree Mrs. Kacofany?” I said to my voice teacher the other day.

“What’s that, Dear?” she shouted.

Mrs. Kacofany is having trouble with her hearing, the poor dear. At my last three sessions she’s had wads of cotton stuffed in her ears. I’m quite concerned about her. She seems to be failing and she was so hale and hardy when I began taking singing lessons.

By my third lesson she’d developed a tremor and I noticed her lustrous black hair was beginning to show gray. Also, while I was singing the scale last week I thought I heard her mumbling to herself. You might say these are all common symptoms of advancing age, the impaired hearing, the tremor and the mumbling, but Mrs. Kacofany is only 35.

She said in the beginning she was taking me on as a challenge and, although she’s paying a terrible price, we seem to be making progress. When I sing during church services now, no one turns around to stare and the EMT members of the congregation realize I am not undergoing a medical emergency.

Mrs. Kacofany admires my love of music and appreciates my frustration when music doesn’t reciprocate, but instead, attacks. My love affair began when I was four and almost swallowed my kazoo. No one had warned me about the danger of inhaling when playing a kazoo.

At age eight I had a brief hope of becoming a harmonica prodigy when, after only an hour’s practice, I’d mastered a few bars of Yankee Doodle. But alas, more than eighty years later the remaining notes continue to elude me.

As a teenager I was drummed out of the Euphonic Academy because of my “discordant effect on the student body.” The professor could not believe I’d practiced 15 hours a week and assumed my performances were some kind of juvenile insolence. “You are the only student I’ve ever encountered who plays the tamourine off key”, he growled.

I can understand his misjudging me. Practicing music lovers usually reach some level of acheivment. But even poor doddering Mrs. Kacofany admits I have a very long way to go.

“I love all music, Mrs. Kacofany. Mozart, Gilbert and Sullivan, Gershwin and punk rock. It’s all the same to me,” I tell her.

“I’m trying to teach you there are important differences, Dear. Someday you might catch on.”

“This violent world needs music, Mrs. Kacofany. I truly believe music has charms to soothe the savage beast.”

“Promise me, Dear, that you will never sing in the presence 0f strange dogs.”


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