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Wednesday, October 14, 2009



My band played at a gala benefit recently for the Hudson Valley Writers Center, for which my wife is a sitting Board member, mostly because of her back. Even the band had to wear a jacket and tie. Nobody said anything about pants, so I didn’t wear any. Every time I put on a jacket and tie it feels like I am pretending to be something I am not, namely a functioning member of society. One look at me should tell you that I just don’t belong in formal wear. It always seems like I am back at my Senior Prom, maybe because it’s the same jacket. This was even more like a senior prom because of all the senior citizens.

And I don’t know how to act among rich people either. For instance, the table setting has too much silverware. A knife and a fork is all I know how to use. I don’t even need a spoon, since anything you can eat with a spoon you can just slurp into your mouth by tipping the bowl. There is always a really small fork, which I avoid because I’m afraid they will serve me a really small dinner. But I guess they have to put it there because babies could be eating there also. There are usually two knives: one is really dull, and the other even duller. In order to kill someone with this knife you would have to turn it around and beat someone over the head six or seven hundred times, and after the first couple hundred times they would just end up getting annoyed. There is also a really small plate, and invariably just as I am about to put something on it someone takes it away. The better the restaurant, the more plates they have that they take away before you are able to use. Usually there are two or three glasses. I think one is for wine, one is for water, and the other one they never fill so it’s a mystery. Which one is for beer? If only I could get them to fill the beer glass like they fill the water glass- after each sip I took of the water a guy would appear from underneath the table and fill my glass as I was putting it back on the table, and then quickly duck back underneath. And then I’m looking for butter for my bread, and somebody hands me a plate of oil. I didn't have any use for it eating-wise, but I did dip my reading glasses into it because they are hard to open. Am I supposed to put it on my bread? When I bring my car in for a tune-up, do they put butter in my crankcase? Well my mechanic sometimes does so bad example.

I don’t know how to converse with rich people. Since they are not concerned with the problems of the proletariat, their discussions are loftier. As soon as someone says, “Did you see that piece in the ‘Times’…?”, I am always too embarrassed to join in. I only saw a piece of that piece, since my attention span is so short. The “Times” always has so many words in it, but aptly named, since it takes so friggin’ long to read. Rich people can talk about food for hours. The word “hummus” always comes up, I’m not sure why. Rich people all seem to know what a “haiku” is. There are specific rules for a haiku, and if you break them people will scoff at you. There was a piece in the “Times” about it.

They had a silent auction to raise money, in case there were deaf people. They also had a louder auction, and then an even louder one. Thank god they didn’t have one of those auctioneers who talk really fast. So fast that if you raise your hand to ask them to repeat something you have already bought it. They had a couple speeches, but you could only hear every other word, because the P.A. was malfunctioning. I had to spring into action and hook the microphone up to the band’s P.A., which was about 500 feet away. So then you could hear the speaker talking, and then it came through the P.A. really softly about three seconds later. I’ve found that people don’t know how to talk through a mike. They always hold it really close to their mouth, confusing it with an ice cream cone. Some orators even took a lick or two from it. And every time they pronounced a word that begins with the letter “P,” pieces fell off the chandelier. And for god's sake don't blow into the microphone. Did you ever blow directly into your dog's face? A microphone reacts the same way- it doesn't like it and it makes a loud noise. But then it forgives you and licks you.

But we played, and people danced, and they seemed to have a good time, although it’s really hard to tell with rich people.

Incidentally, the history of auctions dates back to biblical times, where maidens were auctioned off in a “descending auction,” where the price started high, and came down to an affordable option at some point. But, as in a singles bar, the more alcohol they served, and the later it got towards closing time, the price went back up again.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

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