Monday, December 23, 2013

Little Old Me Getting Inspired About The Phantom of the Opera Yet Again.

672 Posts and years later, only four of you are left following my blog.  So... perhaps all of my old readers who hated the person I was have all left, and I'm all by my lonesome again to write a real journal without worrying who is watching every word I say.

I am feeling a bit saddened tonight.  I found a "Pianist HD" program on my tablet a few nights ago, and I decided to support the developers for making a good product, and I bought the entire program.  The program in one sentence converts the MIDI music files into a "Guitar Hero" format for the piano.  So, I loaded up the Phantom of the Opera medley, and I followed along with my real piano [which I have not touched in around seven years] playing the tunes and hitting the chords just as the program was signing the vocal portions of the various songs at the same time.

First, since playing Phantom of the Opera was my musical to play on the piano, I knew the words to the songs and the chords I was terribly hammering out.  Yet, as I was playing, I noticed that my fingers began to remember what notes to play next.  It was a bit eerie.

I stopped the program, and played many of the jazz and blues tunes I mastered as a younger child.  It was a bit eerie to me that I no longer remembered many of the tunes, but my fingers remembered how to play them.  So I played through a classical piece I spent years working on, then got the bumble-bee something tune playing with metronome precision (I remember how hard I used to work to get the left hand to play the same time as the right hand).  Then, as I was playing a Phantom song, my heart opened up and I ran to my wife to call her over so she can hear me play the phantom song -- something I once could do, but until now, I forgot how to play.  She didn't seem that interested -- she patted me on the shoulder, and got back to researching more important things for us.

I continued to play now with the door closed, but I was saddened.  This playing brought out such emotion in me, and all of a sudden, I felt distant from my wife because the feelings that were being evoked were past feelings of hope, dreams, excitement, and pain -- the many emotional experiences both terribly rewarding and many painful that I went through before and during college.  I was a young boy with hopes and dreams to live the life of theater, and all of that died when I decided to do what was "right," and so I went to college to become a doctor.  Oh well, who knew.

All my years I always was bewitched by the story in the Phantom of the Opera.  I identified with the Phantom, but I had the voice of Christine.  I was pulled in to the story -- the love, the romance, the rejection the Phantom experienced daily, and the excitement of teaching a young talent as a maestro to be great.  Why?  Because the phantom, as deformed as he was behind his mask, he was great.  He was idealistic, he was educated, he was talented, and he was very skilled... yet he was an outcast as I often felt that I was.  I identified deeply with his sadness because it was in spite of his sadness that he reached out to help someone to greatness while he sank deeper and deeper into his shadows.

Anyway, I didn't feel like doing the ordinary thing and watching Netflix, or playing a video game -- tonight after experiencing what I did, I wanted to WRITE.  I also wanted to sing, but I have no audience, no current training, and no desire to leave my law practice so that I can pursue my dreams of broadway and stardom.  I also have a family which is the most important thing to me.  I wouldn't ever give them up, even if the dream materialized and the gates to broadway, movies, singing, acting, and superstar opened up for me.  It is just a reality that I live with -- knowing that I can, but dropping the skill on the side of a road with a thump, ditching the G-d-given-skill as if it was a lump of coal never to be heated or used for oil or heat.  Rather, it is a stained, dirty rock that has no use to me.

Anyway, life is a mess, the world is a mess, the governments are a mess, the economy is a mess, and my dreams are dead, and I am doing what my grandfather and his grandfather did before him.  I am raising a Jewish family, working to provide comfort and security to my family so that we can raise our children in a chassidishe environment so that they can grow with the moral and spiritual foundations and the security that I was not given as a child.  I do what my rabbi does -- I live life one day at a time.  I work on little goals, accomplish one thing at a time, and I remain small and invisible to the world.  I am just one more "hat" in the crowd.  I am just one more father with five kids, all young and very close in age.  I never ended up fixing my faults in yiddishkeit (as in not showing up for minyanim or socializing with the CH community), but I am quiet and people see me and say hello.  But I will never be famous, and I will never amount to anything big.  I will never have the Phantom of the Opera story happen to me from any perspective, but then again, I will never be seduced by a deranged maniac for my abilities, nor will I be hunted by those around me.  I live a boring, simple, perhaps meaningful life.  I am a mildly successful, but very small lawyer with clients and a very small practice.  I support my family, pay the bills, have enough for tzedakka, yeshiva education, the occasional new gadget, and regular vacations for my family and kids.  I work hard, I play hard (with my kids), I contribute both emotionally and physically to be the father my wife and my family needs me to be, I play video games, I watch Netflix, I learn lots of Torah, I mess with operating systems and accidentally open and disassemble external hard drives and break them while trying to fix them, and I try to get by life without expending too much energy because in my life, that is the one thing I squander by not being organized.

This is little old me.  Getting pepper streaks in my hair, not nearly as healthy as I would have wanted myself to be at this point in my life, but I am happy.  I like my life, I love my kids, I love my wife, and I love the person I have become.  I don't know what will happen tomorrow, nor do I know what direction I will take my now-stable-but-formerly-dying-law-firm, but I trust in G-d and hope that he'll direct me because it is no longer only my own life that I am taking care of, but now I have many lives that are dependent on me, so I do what I need to do to get by.


Red Cow said...

We like you're posts- they are for real. It's kind of... refreshing.

Anonymous said...

I still follow your blog, and I am a shiksa from nowhere. This is what life is, for each and all of us. I'm glad things are good with you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! (This is the Kashrut dude who commented on your last post who lives a mile lower than the Mile High city among the 'plain' folk.) I'm also a fellow whose skills fall into that "subjective" category: Art, Music, writing, acting, singing, comedy, poetry. My dream was Art, and I was (and am) quite good. Two realizations squished The Dream: 1) 1% of artists (and writers, and actors, etc.) are "successful" & 99% are as poor as shul-mice. 2) A psychologist showed me the wildly disparate divorce rates for those in "subjective" professions vs. those in "objective" professions like accountants, architects, engineers, etc. Wanting my married life to be more Rhapsody than Bohemian, I strove to concretize my thoughts, words & actions, and live more precisely. That can limit a future as an artist...
I do encourage you to play a few minutes a day, write some songs, pick out your fave Nichoach Greatest Hits, but in now way think that having influence over a family, and some in your community, is a failing of any sort...

Zoe Strickman said...

Nodoby likes a smart ass, and nobody likes an "I'm more special than everyone else" personality because you are right -- they don't pay the bills.

I read your comment and I thought your comparison between "Rhapsody" vs. "Bohemian" was funny, especially since I specifically made a decision that I am more like a BOHEMIAN just a few weeks ago while walking through the grocery store.

Thank G-d there is a G-d who watches over us and doesn't let us fall too far, and who lifts us up when we are low, and who provides us with sustenance when we don't deserve any. And I am speaking for myself.