Monday, December 23, 2013

stuck in permanent bagel mode

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should 
--Rogers & Hammerstein

Well, look at this: another Religiously-Affiliated-Heart-Warmingly-Charming-Boy-Band-Male-A-Capella Group covers one of my favorite little anthems!

First the Mormons, now these adorable young Jewish crooners.

I think an integral part of the New Evangelization that we have yet to capitalize on is the formation of a Catholic RAHWCBBMAC Group [do we think that zingy little acronym is going to catch on? I think it has tons of potential for serious internet traction]. I'm only half-kidding. Look at these savvy young Mormons and our Older Brothers in the Faith; they are definitely doing something right.
I'm thoroughly convinced that there's a huge market here for some intrepid young Catholic male singers to cash into; and if they need any assistance, I have some stellar ideas for names.
(Fr. What-a-Shame and the Seven Sacraments, anyone?
Too much? Borderline sacrilegious? oops.)


There is one trait of human beings I find absolutely fascinating.
The name I have learned to call it by was a name given to it by one of the quirkier theatre instructors I have ever had the privilege of working with, back in the hazily halcyon days of my homeschooled youth.
This particular theatrical genius gave this phenomenon the dubiously appropriate name of
"pissing energy."
And the fascinating thing about this is that human beings do it all the time.
We tap their foot up in down in impatience, as we sit at our desk, waiting for the interminably slow last few minutes of a lecture to finally end, we shake our legs up and down in a nervous symphony of energy being wasted.
Sometimes if you're in a class or a conference or a meeting, you'll feel the table start to shake.
That means either:
You're writing your notes too fast and furiously. Throttle down there, Simba.
Or it means that someone around the table is pissing energy, as they eagerly await the ending of whatever torturous activity is forcing them to remain seated in chairs.
If the chairs swivel, you can often channel the excess energy into rotating your chair back and forth.
We all have plenty of energy, and it has to go somewhere.

I always get nervous when I'm sitting across from someone, and I can feel the table shake a bit as they bounce their leg up and down.

Because, as Parmenides taught us, Nothing comes from Nothing; and Maria and the Captain dutifully remind us of this in the slowest and unarguably the longest of all love ballads.
Albeit a beautiful song, and an even more beautiful sentiment that I have grown to appreciate more as I have grown Older and None Wiser, I have never been able to watch Sound of Music's "Something Good"  without tapping my foot up and down, or rolling around on the floor in impatience.

So this movement that my dinner companion is undertaking must come from somewhere. My overly analytical mind starts to try to parse the reasons behind the reaction.

Are they nervous? Am I making them nervous? 
(Attempt to look less threatening, and more sympathetic)
Are they angry? At me? Did I say something offensive?
Are they about to cry? (please don't cry.)
Am I boring them? Are they tired of this conversation? 
(Entertain them! Tell them a tale! Make them laugh! Regale them with your wit! Never shall a person leave Our Company bored! Are they finding this conversation dull and overly predictable? In the words of Anton: I shall know I'm finished when I become predictable.)

My theatre instructor would call out a young gentleman or lady on pissing energy when they would jiggle their leg, or shuffle their feet during a speech.
Firstly, he would scold them, because one shouldn't ever jiggle while trying to deliver Joan of Arc's speech to the courtroom.
"Light your fire! Do you think I dread it as much as the life of a rat in a hole?" just comes across with less chutzpah if your leg is flailing like a distressed jellyfish.
And this leads me precisely into the second reason:
In moments of intense energy, stress, or emotion our bodies do not piss energy.
Emotions, those hormonally-driven, mysterious parts of our body, will be manifested in our flesh somehow. We cannot hid them as we would often wish.
Whether it is our back shoulder blade muscle that tenses or our nostrils that flare, our emotions live closer to the surface than we would like to believe.
In these moments of intensity, our body seems to follow instinctively the direction set forth by the heart and will; and, straight as an arrow from a Tartar's bow, the body follows the direction of the will.

On the subject of energy, I would like you to see this picture:

I can haz music expertise
This man's name is Osmo Vänskä, and he is generally believed to an expert of sorts on Sibelius.
So that's nice.
And he formerly conducted the Minnesota Orchestra, which I would listen to, as I sat in a faded plush seat, staring at the cubic cosmos of the stage wall of the orchestra hall, my size four feet dangling off the edge of the seat.
My education in music was sitting in this vast Orchestra Hall, and listening to this orchestra play things like Peter and the Wolf and the Nutcracker and operas and symphonies I didn't know the names of, but adored.
My young little ears sat there, listening to visions of God, as recorded by musicians such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky.
Human beings whose listening ears were so keen, they could hear things that never before existed, and bring them somehow into being, recording them in the pedantic tongue of the pentatonic scale.

Here, in this picture below, Mr. Vänskä looks somewhat more in the natural element of Conductor.
He looks as I imagine God-in-the-Act-of-Creation would look like.

He is not pissing any energy.

Considerate la vostra semenza:
fatti non foste a viver come bruti,
ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza.
--Dante, Inferno, Canto 26

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