Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

My wife, Millie, and I were bouncing around Nashville doing laundry one Sunday… yawn… when she looked up at the birds in the sky and said, “That looks like it would be so much fun.” My mind did its typical flip and I said, “I wonder if they look at us and say, ‘It’s so damn boring up here: all blue and clouds; so much down there. They must be having so much fun just walking around.”

To paraphrase David Wilcox; one of my favorite songwriters and philosophers, “If we all learned to fly tomorrow, a few weeks later we’d be walking around saying, ‘I’m nothing special…'”

How does this apply to politics?

Just a little more than two months since Barack became president the difference between his style and our previous president’s seems to have become a big, forgetful, yawn: no matter what the political persuasion. We’re being told he owns wars he didn’t start. Declarations of “it’s over” bounce all over the net, and in the mainstream media, when it has barely begun. It’s almost as if he’s been president for many, many years.

Yup. Nothing special. Nothing different. No change whatsoever.

We look upon our lives with jaded vision; skewed view. You’ve heard of the frog who slowly boils in water and doesn’t notice. Imagine a frog who is kissed by Ms. Fate and becomes a prince. He marries into his castle and, by working hard, he has so much.


Maybe, but I’ll bet he still acts as if he believes…

“Yup. Nothing special. Nothing different. No change whatsoever.”

No frog turned prince…

The same face everyday ; same annoying habits, instead of seeing the princess who is still there…

I do have a similar story.

I went from someone moved out of a family that was falling apart after Mom died to living in roach infested apartments. I could hardly get a passing glance from the other sex. I worked my way through school in cemeteries and restaurants; mostly as a dishwasher…. I went from all that, to being an entertainer with a tour route from Louisiana to Maine and recording engineer who works with young children. I’ve been performing since I was a kid, but professionally for 25 years: touring for 21. I’ve been a sound engineer since 1979 when I studied at Belmont in Nashville. And professionally… with my own mobile recording studio… since 93.

I’ve been happily married for 31 years.

I have a future home in the Adirondacks that qualifies as “camp,” and a 28 acre home just outside of Nashville: all paid for.

I could go on and fill in all the changes, challenges I’ve met and achievements during those years, but the intent here is not to not to brag or impress. I’m trying to make a point. The changes were slow; two steps forward, sometimes ten quite painful steps back. I am that frog. I often think of myself as not much more than “frog.” So to this day I still catch myself acting as if…

“Yup. Nothing special. Nothing different. No change whatsoever.”

The pot isn’t always boiling, though we may think it is. Sometimes it gets better, and we often don’t notice that either. As my father who was born when cars were just getting on the road, and lived to see computers start to infest our homes; the Mac portable was one year away, said…

“You really don’t notice the changes all that much. They slide in so slowly. You just get used to them.”

Of course there are problems to this picture I’ve painted. Image is never all there is to substance; so my life has problems and unresolved issues. Think I’d be scared if it didn’t; as in… “what am I being set up for now?”

Look up. Here comes the Acme anvil. Squish.

But that’s probably something else, more human, to the perception of “being set up…” Have you ever had a really bad day? Look back at it. Chances are there were plenty good moments during that day: a few things simply took over our perceptions and made us obsess: missing the best of the day.

Working with children for well over 20 years I am always amazed how; even on even their worst days, they can still imagine and take that leap; even if it means more pain. Children seem to naturally learn from such and then… grow. They have what we have drained out our lives through cynicism, fear and the blase’ nature of the passing of many, many days. They have an endless supply of imagination and the ability to channel that unto the future, while pretending to just have fun with it all.

Yes, “child’s play” provides the building blocks of what you will be. I imagine if you spent many days dreaming and imagining who you might be, you probably saw some real results that helped you be a better; more noble, frog; maybe a prince. If you spent it terrorized; being told to grow up: ridiculed for anything you did, you may have seen some results… but the water might always seem hot; then hotter.

I understand, there was some of that in my own family: especially amongst cousins, uncles, a specific childless aunt that still makes me cringe when I hear the name “Blanche…” an over the top, real life; poorly portrayed version, of the fictional Blanche from Streetcar …and friends; who in many ways were like family. All families have some of this. Though I hope few have “Blanche.”

But I have known those who have reached beyond the oppressive nature of whom they were; where they had to be, as children. Perhaps we too need to take our worst days and do with our lives what two children were doing I saw on tour in the early 90’s at a Syracuse, NY post office. All the adults: bored to death, standing in line at a post office. Where we saw boredom; they saw posts to swing around, a place to play: to imagine. One fell. She cried. Once comforted, she and her brother added it to the story they were spinning.

Take the worst.

Use it for the good.



-By Robbie Schaefer…as performed by Eddie From Ohio on their CD: This is Me

Im kinda small for my age but Ive learned to be quiet
Did you know if your quiet enough you become invisible?

Ours is a family of 3
Theres my mom dad and me
Im the only one whos quiet
Wish theyd shut up and try it

But dont underestimate me
Im seven years tall
and all I need
is a cape and a mask
So I can fly outta here
I can fly outta here (repeat)

Im kinda smart for my age,
Its only a gift in music,
they dont choose you used choose it
But I choose ordinary
Yes, Im a very ordinary canary
And my legs dont work too well.
When I was 2 and a half I fell.
And now Im just a slowpoke.
Momma says keep that an inside joke

But dont underestimate me
Im seven years tall
and all I need
is a cape and a mask

So I can fly outta here
I can fly outta here (repeat)

There’s no one in this world that can tell I’m undercover
Theyll all have to tell each other one day one day
I knew him well

So dont underestimate me
Cause Im seven years tall
and all I need
is a cape and a mask
So I can fly outta here
I can fly outta here (repeat)
Copyright 2004
Robbie Schaefer
all rights reserved

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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