Saturday, November 14, 2015

6 lbs., 1 oz. and 27.5 Inches in Length

This is how the cello was displayed in the store. It's a Maple Leaf make of cello. Get it? Cute, huh? As soon as I paid my money I disposed of the damn leaf.

Don't worry that the kid is unnaturally thin. It's a cello.

Today I dealt with the recent demise of a relationship by undergoing a bit of therapy. To be more specific, it was therapy of the retail variety.  I took money that had been removed from my bank account months ago for the purchase of a new violin and bought a cello with it. It was not needed for my new violin because my uncle decided a few months ago to buy for me the violin of my choice after my mom damaged my previous violin. I won't even address the sketchiest details of that fiasco.

I was actually doing myself a major favor by spending the money, as it had been sitting - nicely camouflaged -- at the bottom of a decorative jar, beneath a cluster of glass jelly beans. We all know that it's not terribly prudent to keep a large cache of money stored underneath a mattress or, for that matter, anywhere else in one's home. I've been too busy even to visit a branch of my bank during business hours, and I felt even more nervous about going out with such a large amount of cash after-hours to deposit it into an ATM. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway, about why it was such a great idea to drop the better part of  six thousand dollars on a cello, a decent bow, and a sturdy case. 

My brother casually mentioned what I was doing today to my mom in a text. My mother quite predictably went ballistic. Her stated reasons as to why my indulgence was such an abysmal practice centralized upon the premise that what I did was to sublimate my emotions, not actually dealing with them, but rather,  engaging in the most unhealthy practice of compulsively dropping a large wad of cash on an impulse purchase. She said it wasn't really about the money.

I shall share my opinion here even if no one desires to hear it because this is my blog and I can say whatever I want as long as it's not libelous. Almost anytime someone gives you the line, "It's not about the money," it really is all about the money. My mother is upset that I spent nearly six grand on a cello and related paraphernalia.  If I had gone out and wasted three hundred dollars on high-end cosmetics, she probably would have considered the practice not conducive to mental health, but she wouldn't have given a rat's rectum [shoutout to Knotty] that I had done it.

Before you find yourself too firmly entrenched on her side in this dispute, let me relate just a bit of my mother's retail history. When she was fourteen and a high school junior she purchased a new Trans Am with earnings from a gambling ring that she operated in her high school. She was still almost two years from being able to drive legally when she bought the Trans Am. (I'm not suggesting my mother let the car vegetate in the garage for almost two years. According to her siblings, she drove herself even to eighth grade in a second-hand Mustang she bought years earlier, also with gambling ring earnings. I'm just saying it wasn't legal for her to have driven the car.) One or the other of her parents must have signed for the car, but she would have been the one to fork over all the cash at the age of fourteen. I drive a freaking Honda Civic at the age of twenty. For the record, I consider myself quite fortunate to have the Honda Civic, as not everyone can have Judge Alex, who buys Lexuses for his offspring, as a father. I'm merely mentioning this to give you, the reader, much needed perspective in regard to my family's financial history.

Moving along to my mother's more recent history, she has not one, not two, but three grand pianos in her present home -- one for each floor of the house. The pianos are two Steinways and a Kawai, for the record -- which are not exactly Wurlitzers in the grand scheme of all things piano-related. That doesn't even count the baby grand that is in my room there and was purchased for me by my Godparents. My mother also purchased a 6'4" ebony Boston [a Steinway subsidiary] grand for the condo. My mother's net worth in pianos alone is equal to or greater than the combined wealth of the average two-income family in the U.S. Isn't that just really sweet as well as sensible? Is it normal to be too damned lazy to descend a flight of stairs to play a piano?

I'm not suggesting that my mother has spent money foolishly on a regular basis throughout her marriage. She herself has worked at decent-paying positions for all but a few years of her marriage, and what she spent on pianos probably didn't even touch my father's salary, the magnitude of which I don't know, though I'd have to guess that what he pulls in is substantial. What I am suggesting is that my mother is the proverbial pot calling the proverbial kettle proverbially black by complaining about my recent indulgence. My not-quite-six-thousand dollar purchase pales in comparison to the money she's spent in an arguably frivolous manner.

All sales of used merchandise at the store from which I purchased the cello are final. I've watched enough of courtroom TV shows to know that the only terms under which my purchase could be invalidated would be if the cello, bow, or case  had been in some way falsely represented. I did my homework. My cello is the real deal. The cello is here to stay. 

My mother needs to learn to look on the bright side. This figurative coin of sorts actually has two bright sides. Side A: I would have spent even more on the cello except that a high-end cello, while it sounds great when played by an experienced and talented cellist, is actually more difficult to play than is a bargain basement cello. I split the difference and went with a mid-level model. Side B: Even if I have a bona fide musical instrument addiction -- which I do not -- it's far cheaper than a drug or gambling habit even without the necessity of paying for related stints in rehab.

The song of the day for today should be a cello song except that I cannot actually play the cello yet, so instead, we will go with Gloria Gaynor's breakup anthem of the 70's or 80's or whenever it was recorded.


  1. Of all the things you could have spent your money on, I hardly think a cello is frivolous. Enjoy it!

    1. i played the all afternoon and evening until Matthew and two others got here and crashed following a 24-hour shadowing detail at the hospital. Even though Matthew's friends didn't HAVE to sleep here, I still didn't want to wake them, so i stopped playing.

      I didn't touch one book or one bit of school work all day, and I may not tomorrow. One of my professor/doctors called to check on me (a few of them are actually nice people) and she said that the good thing about over-studying as I normally do as that when something comes up and i feel as though I need a break, I can afford it because I've already put in more time than almost anyone else and probably know the material as well as anyone in the program. She made me feel far less guilty about taking the weekend off.

    2. Played the CELLO, BTW. I left that word out.

  2. It sounds like you've more than earned a break and a cello. I wish I could play.

  3. i wish I could play cello more proficiently. i have a strong enough violin background that I'm certainly not starting from scratch, but I don't play it as though it's a violin yet, either. My cellist friend from UCSB, who is doing his masters' recital in January , is going to give me lessons over Christmas break.

  4. You continually impress me. I have had a few friends that could speak multiple languages and the more languages, the more impressive. The French girl is fluent in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. We had e-mailed and IMed each other for years. When we spoke on the phone, our ways of speaking English did not match since she talked and learned English from people who spoke it as a foreign language. But after about 20 minutes of talking we were able to stop saying "what" and understand each other.

    So I wondered why you did not speak multiple languages. I see now that you are someone who plays multiple musical instruments instead. Every time I learn that you play a different instrument I get more impressed.

    As far as your mother, do not try to apply logic to her. She definitely has some sort of psychological problem. In fact I want to bring up kids and not tell them what to do at all. If you do that with anyone (tell them what to do), you do not have love and respect for them.

    In fact people think that a need is a love, when it is a need. For example even though I love you, I want you to be with whoever you want to be with even though it is not me. Maybe you can help your mother by spending an hour showing her that she is not you. Now at first she will tell you that she knows this.

    But you can explain that if she kills someone, the police will not arrest her parents, will not arrest her husband, will not arrest her best friend or her children. They will arrest her. Now why? Because they she is responsible for what she does. You are over 18 and responsible for what you do. Ask her this. Would she prefer that you get into an accident and become paralyzed from the neck down and then you cannot do anything yourself. Then she can have complete control over your life.

    I am happy for you and if this is how you react to break-ups, I wish you many more break-ups. I lived with a woman in a house. We rented a back yard house to a friend. The thing that he loved most in life was playing a cello. He loved his cello more than anything. He really did not love much in his life but he loved playing his cello so much.

    So I am so glad that you are enjoying your cello. Maybe someday they will discover that playing a cello is the best thing to do when you have your heart broken. They will call it Alexis therapy.

    1. i play trombone and baritone and viola as well.

  5. I love to brag to people the many languages that someone I know can speak. So I want to brag to people the many instruments that you can play. So you can play the piano, the organ, the violin, the tuba and now the cello. Have I missed any?

    Also here is a joke. A guy wanted to have sex but did not want to get this woman pregnant. So he asked a doctor. The doctor told him to buy a condom and put it on his organ before he had sex. So he did that and the woman got pregnant. So he told the doctor. The doctor (this may happen to you) asked him if he followed his directions. The guy said that he did not have an organ so he used a piano instead!

    If I am ever your husband, I will never complain that you are spending too much time playing an instrument and too little time with me. In fact it is kind of romantic that you spent $6,000 to buy a cello because of a break-up. Doesn't your mother see that? Doesn't anyone see that? I bet Bach, Beethoven or Mozart would understand that.

  6. Tell your mother that she has her own life and she can do anything she wants with it. Maybe she was in danger of dying but now she is fully functional. But I am sorry but she only has one body to use. Her body is hers to as she wants to even kill herself. That is fair.

    But your body is your body to do as you want with it, just as her body is hers to do with what she wants with it. Just like you are not supposed to tell her what to do with her life, she is not supposed to tell you what to do. She can apply her psycho bable to herself. There is one group of people that were famous for wanting to tell people what to do. They were called the Nazis. To gently remind your mother that she is trying to get you to do what she wants instead of what you want, you can say to her "Heil Hitler" or "Heil, mein Führer!"

    1. my mother isn't hear to respond, but i'll tell you what she would write if she were here; She would say that there is another group besides the Nazis also known for telling people what t do, and that group is of collectively called "mothers." Unfortunately for her, she can tell me what to do until her face turns purple and falls of, but that doesn't necessarily mean that i'm going to do what she tells me to do.

    2. You are right! The Holy Bible says that if your children are still bad after punishing them, you should get your neighbors and stone the children to death. Modern psychology was born in modern Germany. Nazis are Catholic like your mother. In fact the U.S. had a medical treatment that would got rid of all mental problems-- upper lobotomies (cut out piece of your brain). They are illegal now but electro-shock is still legal.

      Have you heard of Bayer company that makes baby aspirin? What could be more American than than that? They built Auschwitz, the worst concentration camp ever. Look it up. They started shipping Jews there when they built the Auschwitz factory to get free labor. You would be happy to be a slave if your other choice is death.

      "Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005
      Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Soviet liberation of the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz. Lest we forget an important corporate participant in the Holocaust – two excerpts shed light on the role of IG Farben, ie. Bayer.

      IG Farben was the most powerful German corporate cartel in the first half of the 20th century and the single largest profiteer from the Second World War. As documents show, IG Farben was intimately involved with the human experimental atrocities committed by Mengele at Auschwitz."

      I bet that the U.S. still uses Nazi torture methods on terrorists.