Friday, January 25, 2019

Pretend Genius

I was recently bemoaning my lack of science and math prowess, and it occurred to me that maybe I have been looking at it all wrong. For all the appreciation and interest I have in explanations for How Things Work, I should be focusing more on the theoretical. Once I learn that gravity and coincidence has somehow delivered us a moon that appears the same size in the sky as our sun, then a whole lot of mysteries about lunar eclipses are neatly wrapped up. I won't get too wrapped up in explaining how this came to pass, since that might require math with parentheses. Instead, I will marvel at the way the play of light and shadows can make amateur astronomers swoon, as was the case with last week's Super Blood Wolf Moon.
Not just your standard Blood Moon. The Super Blood Wolf Moon. Two more adjectives. Made possible by the same science that allows kindergartners to make butterfly hand puppets on a screen in front of a projector.
Then it occurs to me that I live in this world much in the same way that I live in the world of rock and roll. I have endless appreciation for all manner of bands and musicians, and it is my years of study of piano, trombone and tuba that allow me to understand the rudiments of what they are doing. What this allows me to do is to pantomime wildly as if I were playing those guitars and drums. And, given a large and loud enough crowd, sing along. This mild devotion to air guitar was finally rewarded by the invention of the video game Guitar Hero, which became an obsession in my life for a number of years until I realized that I was actually coming no closer to my dreams of rock and roll stardom, stuck as I was on Medium.
Which isn't to say that I don't get what Eric Clapton is doing. Or Neil Peart. Or any one of a thousand different players whose notes I have imagined recreating in that overbite-eyes-closed state that somehow makes my flailings more sincere. Not an accurate recreation, but a generic simulation of gestures that could be confused with playing music.
And something about stars.

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