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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Even in heaven they got the blues

In which the holiest--and most crotchety--of all Buzz contributors upends further mistruths about his kind (angels), but first accuses The Buzz managing editor of being a 'tyrant with a god complex'. Yup, it's a pretty standard Tuesday around here.

By Sagnessagiel

Lately the esteemed editor of The Buzz, a person who I have the upmost respect for despite our frequent spats over syntax, grammar and punctuation, someone who, I’m sure, is very nice outside the office and who, I’m willing to admit, I might have wrongly accused of being a tyrant with a god complex, has been demanding that I provide some details as to what we typical, rank and file, overworked and underappreciated worker bee angels look like. The editor feels that since I had no qualms about busting his eighty-year-old grandmother’s belief that angels have wings, that I should be equally unhesitant to let it be known that I and the vast majority of my compadres bear no resemblance to strapping young men with broad shoulders and flowing manes of curly golden hair. 

If it makes him happy, I have no problem admitting that I wish I had a case of Two Hearted for every time I was told that I’m the spitting image of Yogi Berra, that my buddy Cameal bears an uncanny resemblance to Don Mossi and that Manakel is a carbon copy of Gates Brown. I could give more examples but I think you get the picture. Obviously back when the Old Man was designing His angelic legions, he didn’t feel that we common angels, the ones who get dirty in the trenches, the ones who draw all the crummy assignments and who tirelessly perform their duties without ever getting so much as an atta-boy or a thank you, needed to be blessed with good looks. The archangels on the other hand…well, I’m sure you‘ve seen those shirtless, taut-muscled, dreamy young lads with bedroom eyes and pouting lips who grace the pages of Calvin Klein magazine advertisements. 

I realize I’m being a bit snarky but I just got back from music practice where I was again berated in front of the entire choir for my “lack of enthusiasm” and for my “ghastly, stone-fingered” harp playing. While I’ve never been a virtuoso on the concert harp, (it’s hard to hit the right notes when you have fingers the size and general thickness of sausages), my inherent honesty forces me to admit that my enthusiasm for playing that horrid instrument has indeed been on the wane ever since Sonny Boy Williamson began teaching me how to play the blues harp.

I ran into Sonny Boy quite by accident. I was on my way to get some pointers from Mozart when I took a wrong turn and instead of arriving in the eighth hall of the twelfth heaven, the residence of the classical composers, I ended up in eighth/thirteenth, the section of heaven where all the great blues and jazz legends are spending eternity. The eighth/thirteenth is unlike any other section of heaven. It might best be described as a cross between the World Showcase section of Disney World and a Hollywood back lot. One minute you’re walking down an exact replica of Beal Street in Memphis and the next you’re hanging out with Charlie Parker on a street corner in Old Chicago. There’s even a reconstruction of the famous crossroads of Routes 61 and 49, the place where, legend has it, Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play the blues. (Robert plays in a juke joint up here every third Sunday so that’s another myth can finally be put to rest. Hopefully the editor’s grandmother won’t have an issue with that.)

Lately I’ve been going to the eighth/thirteenth whenever my ungodly busy schedule permits and I’ve been fortunate to have met and jammed with a number of the great ones. When I’m blowing hot on that blues harp I forget all about my cares and woes. My problems with editors and music instructors magically disappear, and I couldn’t care less that I look more like a Notre Dame gargoyle than a Reuben’s cherub, or that the Old Man rarely calls me by the right name.

Come to think of it I think it would probably do me a world of good right now if I pulled that harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna.

Play the blues, Sagnessagiel. Play the blues.


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