October 2014

October 2014
Mr. P.C. By

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Dear Mr. P.C.:

I was playing piano in a building lobby where I perform regularly. A woman walked past the piano and discreetly left something at the far end (it's a grand piano). When I finished the song, I walked around the piano to see what she'd left. Turned out it was her trash!

I'm a little old and out of touch so I'm wondering: Is that okay nowadays?

—Don't Understand Selfish Treatment By Inconsiderate Nutjob


When you call it "trash," I wonder if you're being too quick to pass judgment.

Was it recyclable? If so, it's not trash! You might not know this, being "old and out of touch," but in this century there are now separate containers for recyclables and trash, which means that recyclables are the exact opposite of trash. Wadded up napkins, empty cans of coke, mildly soiled toilet paper—not trash!

Was it compostable? That's not trash either; it's tomorrow's organic soil, next year's fresh produce. Rotten tomatoes, grass clippings, cow manure—not trash!

Leaky car batteries, used condoms, festering chunks of raw meat—now that's trash! Until you can tell the difference, I suggest you put three small labeled baskets on the piano—recyclables, compostables, and trash—and let your audience sort it out.

Dear Mr. P.C.;

I recently booked a band to play at my company's reception. They asked me if I could pay them in cash. Why do they even care?


Dear Bill:

Due to their pay scale, a lot of jazz musicians these days are avid coin collectors; the band is hoping you'll accidentally give them some vintage coins. Although jazz artists happily accept older coins of all denominations, it's their voluminous wheat back libraries that have made them the envy of numismatists around the world.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

My wife says it would be more realistic if jazz CDs included conversation during the bass solos. I think listeners should be trusted to make their own conversation. What do you think?

A.S., Seattle

Dear ASS:

People listening to CDs can't be trusted to make their own conversation, because they may say hurtful things. Not about the bass solo—because, of course, they're unaware of it—and not necessarily about the rest of the music on the CD, though they may despise it. No, it's even worse: hateful rhetoric about political and social topics that are the lifeblood of any sensitive, forward-thinking global citizen.

Conversation recorded along with the bass solo, on the other hand, allows for careful editing, no matter how inappropriate the chatter. A few strategic splices can turn even the most offensive comments into neutral or community-positive statements.

Of course that will lead to some dropped beats here and there in the bass solo itself, but savvy listeners have come to expect that.

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