I'm not a huge fan of dog and pony shows, but in this case, I didn't have a lot of choice. This is the ceremony that will be held, in part, to honor me, as "Outstanding Elementary Teacher for Region Two." As I continue to wrestle with this distinction, I prepare myself for the catered affair and the uncomfortable moment when my name is announced and I have to step up to the stage and accept my award. My prize for going to work each day and doing my job. The stuffed mushrooms and those little meatballs on toothpicks. It's not exactly my scene.
That's pretty much how I felt when I saw that Led Zeppelin was receiving the Kennedy Center Honors. The president thanked the members of the band for behaving themselves at the White House given their history of "hotel rooms trashed and mayhem all around." Since these awards are given " for those who influenced American culture through the arts," I did wonder if trashing hotel rooms could be considered an art. I do know how Zeppelin influenced me, as part of my American culture. Perhaps the most significant moment in that flurry of influence came when, as a senior in high school, we attempted to blow the windows out of the studio in the Band Room by playing "Stairway To Heaven" at unsafe volumes through the very expensive speakers inside. Where we were. Banging our heads to every screaming hot guitar lick.
And so, as I ascend the stairs to accept my artfully sculpted acrylic plaque, I will be thinking of that song. I will be thinking of the incongruity of Jimmy Page in a tuxedo, and wondering about that ringing in my ears.