Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Starting With: Many, many years ago, Abq Jew attempted to learn to play the violin.

His parents, of blessed memory, along with all Jewish parents in Brooklyn, believed all their children to be young Jascha Heifetzes, just waiting for the right muse - in his case Abq Jew's Great Aunt Lil, who really could play the violin - to let our musical genius shine through.

Many years ago (Before Children), Abq Jew again attempted to learn to play the violin. He even acquired (for $400!) a well-made instrument. This time, he had some success, progressing to double stops, arpeggios, and playing more or less in tune.

Years ago (After Dov the Filmmaker), Abq Jew put the violin down ... temporarily. Two homes and 30 years later, he still had the violin. So he was able to lend it to a family friend, who took it with her to Boston University.

Said family friend later acquired her own instrument, one more appropriate to the BU milieu. And following a complex series of transfers, the violin was again in Abq Jew's possession, last Saturday night, on the NYC MTA's Manhattan - Queens F train.

Where a thought suddenly and without warning came to Abq Jew's mind:  

Let's make some money! 

How do you make money on the subway with a violin? The way so many of the masters have: You open the case - and keep it open. You take out the violin and the bow. You play. And money just falls into the open violin case!

The nice thing about all this is:

You don't have to play well!

It's true. They've done experiments. Commuters can't tell Joshua Bell from Norman Fell. You can believe Abq Jew about this.

As Abq Jew was conjuring cash, he (naturally) thought of ... Tom Lehrer and his song In Old Mexico. In particular, he remembered the fortuitous line

The mariachis would serenade,
and they would not shut up till they were paid;

which, as you remember (don't you?) concludes with

we ate, we drank, and we were merry,
and we got typhoid and dysentery.

Thus, Abq Jew said to himself: If he could not be paid to play - surely he could be paid to stop! And here, for your enjoyment, is In Old Mexico:

Aside from its being a paen to the glorious sport of bullfighting, In Old Mexico is, too, a tutorial in the correct pronunciation of the x in Mexico. Which is not to mention the j in Guadalajara.

But we're not done yet! Listening to the x in Mexico and the j in Guadalajara reminds Abq Jew (and you, too, he is sure) of the sound(s) Felix (of The Odd Couple) made while clearing his sinuses. You don't remember? Well ....

But wait! There's more! Listening to Felix clear his sinuses reminds Abq Jew (and you, too, he is sure) of the sound(s) once too often heard on the NYC MTA's Manhattan - Queens F train. Which is not to mention on the Boston MBTA's Harvard - Washington "T" subway line.

About which - you guessed it! - Tom Lehrer also wrote (in 1944!). And here, for your ... enjoyment ... is The "T" Subway Song.

Dedicated to Abq Jew's daughter, Alex the BU Student

Abq Jew firmly apologizes to all those - and there will be many - whom he has offended. He just does not have good taste. But he does have his violin.

No comments: