Years and years passed and I was still stuck playing the saxophone. And with each year, I think I was somehow getting worse. My dislike of the saxophone mixed with my natural unnaturalness with all things relating to music produced an incompetence like no other. I_was_terrible.
I was so much worse than everyone else— and there were some seriously incapable human beings also playing instruments, and even they managed to push something out that sounded better than a drowning muskrat/Cher. Most of the time I wouldn’t even bother playing, I would just pretend to while dreaming about all the other better uses for my saxophone: fire kindle, a silly hat, a life preserver for someone I wanted to see drown, a remote control, a giant bubble maker.
High school came in 2003, and everyone in band had to join the marching band. The whole idea of it terrified me— because unlike band, marching band required not only the ability to play your instrument, but also the ability to simultaneously march around in some prearranged manner whilst wearing a silly hat. What a terrible idea. There was no way I was going to be able to play a saxophone and move at the same time. That was asking way too much. Having me do such a thing is like having Charlie Sheen host the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards: lives would surely be destroyed. I had to get out of this.
Again I began arguing with my parents to let me quit. I claimed that they were no better than the fanatical, strict parents that pushed their kids to become child prodigies; some now refer to these types as Asian Tigers, but they can also be classified under the general term psychotic.
But as I said, my parents are indestructible and unflinchingly rigid. There was no beating them and they would not accept the fact that I was terrible at the sax. I was searing with anger.
Marching band started and our routine was based on the catchy showtunes of The West Side Story. During one particularly inspiring song, we would form a giant heart. As you can imagine, it was emotionally stirring and thus a very crucial part of our show. The responsibility of leading the saxophone section to connect with the flute section during this one segment had arbitrarily fallen upon me. And this, my friends, is when I became the Heartbreaker. Because all I literally had to do was take fifteen steps in that –> direction, but somehow managed to fail at this every time. I would always break the heart.
Despite my continual heart breaking and overall incompetence, the marching band managed to score pretty high in all our competitions. And when the state competition rolled around, we had a decent chance of winning. I spent the entire week before this worrying about the show. I was absolutely sure I was going to blow the whole thing by breaking the heart. Everyone in the marching band would hate me— I would be the least popular kid in the least cool extracurricular activity. High school was off to a great start.
But guess what haters— the day of the state competition came and I did it. I nailed it. The marching band virtuoso buried deep down in the caverns of my soul finally emerged and I successfully walked in a straight line. It was the artistic peak of my entire life. I was euphoric. “This,” I thought as I breathed heavily, “is how Bono must have felt when he sang at the Super Bowl.” Except I didn’t have an American flag sewn in my jacket. But, it was still awesome.
Lil Mama, whom I like to refer to as the voice of our generation, once said as a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew, “Y’all took the extra stab in the heart of the chicken!”
I’m not really sure what that means, and am pretty sure Lil Mama is crazy, but I’d like to think if she were there the night of my successful performance, that’s how she would have described it. Stabbing the chicken heart or whatever.
After that year of marching band my parents finally let me quit the saxophone. Their greatest fears did not come true— while I have become a drug-addicted prostitute, I’ve managed to stay out of Orlando (thank God). And other than that, I’ve accomplished a lot of great things. Like, for instance, when I went to a Dunkin Donuts right before it closed and the cashier gave me all the leftover, stale donuts for free. No big deal. (It was the greatest day of my life).