I am standing at the bus stop.
And I am listening to a sunburnt, disheveled woman with a voice like a brass gong explain to a sunburnt, disheveled man how “big government is ruining the entrepreneurial spirit” of the United States – all while clutching a sign that says “Anything Helps. God Bless!” – when the man on the recorder starts up.
The man on the recorder.
The man with the skillz needed to play both Three Blind Mice and Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
There he is, on the corner of Nicollet and 8th: a man with the burning desire to share a less-than-average gift with the world.
His rendition of Three Blind Mice is one thing.
But his version of Popeye the Sailor Man is another.
Popeye the Sailor Man: Eight bars of simplicity beaten into shrill, trilling submission by a man with an upended top hat at his feet.
Look. I have nothing against buskers, against street musicians. I don’t mind the guy that advertises a personalized poem for a dollar. And I certainly don’t begrudge a living to the little South American dude with the accordion or the toothless man that claps his hands and sings “Oh, Happy Day”.
But the man who plays the recorder?
I want to crush him.
Is my violent reaction because of the way he plays nursery tunes, the instrument pointed toward the heavens in ecstasy? The way he closes his eyes and sways, moved by his trilling virtuosity? The way he seems to know only the very beginning of Somewhere Over the Rainbow yet manages to make it last for ten minutes?
Frankly, it’s all those things.
I don’t know, man. I think I need a vacation or something.