Tuesday, June 14, 2016


When I was a child, I was a member of that large group of people who were not popular, not good at sports or theatre, and were basically shy.  I could not imagine what it would be like to walk down the halls of school and have everyone know my name, have people greet me on every hand.  In fact, if it had happened, I wouldn't have known how to react.  Maybe I would have run away screaming.

It's hard to remain shy when you play the pipes.  Practicing at 110 decibels does not allow one to remain anonymous.  You are forced to learn how to accept praise and congratulations and/or criticizm and complaints.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that the fastest way out of anonymity is taking up the pipes.  If only somebody had told me this in high school.

I made sure my Small Son knew.  He's very popular.

Only today, I had to take my turn at standing and introducing myself to a room full of people at work, which is about as far away from piping as you can get.  After I sat down, the moderator said, "Oh yeah, and Rose plays the bagpipes, too!"

They always find out.

Pipe bands compete at events called highland games.  There are band competitions, piping competitions, drumming competitions, athletic events such as caber toss or throw the bale of hay over the wire, and Celtic dancing competitions, all in one event  The first time I attended as a competitor, I was allowed to butt to the front of any line because "I have to compete in a few minutes. . ." This came in most handy at the restroom, and was a big surprise to me, but because of the extensive amount of tuning pipers have to do (1.25 hours per set, so about 5 hours per weekend), we have very little time for things like eating and drinking and going to the restroom, or checking out the jewelry or swords from the vendors.  People want to hear us play, so they let us butt in.

I also noticed that little kids would run up and ask for our autographs, adults would stop us to ask questions, and all ages would pose for a photograph with me and their family member in it.  People that I recognized from church, school, or work waved and smiled, instead of pretending not to hear or see me.  Never mind that I couldn't play as well as most of the other pipers for a long time; if I wore the costume, I must be good.

I had become a jock.

Over the years, I developed a better-than-thou attitude towards everybody else at the games, because they obviously had not put in the time and effort (and money) to become a piper, so they were not as amazing. as I was.  ha HA!

Then I started paying attention to the body language of the drummers, dancers and athletes, and I noticed that they were all acting like they were awesome, too.

It's not that I'm a jock among plebes; it's a whole festival of jocks.

Dinner tonight:  humble pie.

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