Alternate Reality #1

In early November, I mused a bit about what I’d like to be when I grow up. We dream about things as kids and precious few of us ever get the chance to play out our dreams in real life. Sometimes that’s actually a good thing. As exciting as it sounded at the time, I don’t think my true calling was in waste management. Other times, perhaps it’s not. So I thought I’d take a few posts (not in a row) to explore some of the possibilities in greater detail. Welcome to Alternate Reality #1.

In this reality, we’ll pretend I decided to go ahead and pursue that career in music. (Officially, let’s place this one in the same file as waste management: it’s probably best I didn’t follow this path.) But had I done so, what would life have been like?

I first seriously thought of this while I was still in college, about 147 years ago. At twenty years old, I found myself having my second mid-life crisis. (I think my first mid-life crisis happened when I was thirteen. For those of you keeping score at home, I’m currently living mid-life crisis #23.)

All I knew at the time was I hated my major, I hated school, and I found myself spending vast amounts of time locked in the basement of the music building. I wasn’t actually taking any music classes, but there were about thirty sound-proof practice rooms down there for anyone to use, each one stocked with a mediocre piano, and I took full advantage of it.

Now I’d taken piano lessons throughout high school, but not much came of it. I remember once asking a friend of mine who also happened to be my piano teacher’s son (themselves a highly developed, professional music family), “So what do you think of my playing? Am I any good?” Before answering, he asked me, “Are you thinking of following a career in music?” I truthfully replied, “No.” “Then you’re doing great!”

It wasn’t until I went to college and I was all by my lonesome that I seriously started practicing. And writing. Most of it was junk, of course. But it was my junk, and I enjoyed it. One piece I worked particularly hard on was the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I don’t know how many of you have heard this one, but it’s rather frenetic: right up my alley. One day after slogging through it yet again, there was a knock at the door. A rather attractive girl walked in and said, “What was that?” I told her. She said she was going to be in a beauty pageant and was looking for a piece for the talent part of the show. I thought to myself, if you can play that, please skip the beauty contest and move on to better things. I also thought to myself, Wow. I never imagined Beethoven would attract the ladies.

But the thing is, while I could kind of play it, I couldn’t really play it, and my professional music friend from high school was right: I was a spectacular player, as long as I wasn’t actually thinking about doing it for real. Like Salieri in Amadeus, I would forever be haunted by my shortcomings.

I’m sure in this alternate reality I would have eventually started a band. (I can say that with all certainty because I did just that in this reality.) But the alternate reality band would have been a seriously killer, jazz-rock fusion group, with a keyboard player only slightly less mediocre than the pianos he practiced on in college. He would have gigged tirelessly for years, maybe taught lessons on the side, most certainly struggled to write and record, and eventually would have started a blog where he mused about what his life would have been like as a software developer.

We’ll never know. And that’s probably as it should be.

Before I leave this post, I thought I’d share with you a slice of what’s left of my piano skills. This was actually recorded two years and twenty-five pounds ago. I wrote the arrangement myself and played a few more notes than my then ten-year-old daughter. But we had fun (even if I do look like a complete dufus when I play—I probably should have just uploaded the audio). Anyway, Happy Holidays!

(Our favorite part is the modulation at 01:03.) ๐Ÿ™‚

16 Responses to “Alternate Reality #1”

Kath said
December 17, 2008 at 5:20 am

BRILLIANT arrangement!!! The suspense of 1:03 was well worth the wait ๐Ÿ™‚

Lynn said
December 17, 2008 at 6:14 am

Charlie, I’m verklempt. Tears and everything. What I saw was a father loving his daughter and a daughter loving her father (I get choked up at all those father/daughter things because in my alternate reality #1, husband #1 wouldn’t have died). Anyway, that is my favorite Christmas song and the first movement of Moonlight Sonata is my very favorite piece of music, bar none.

Now stop making me cry.

Biz said
December 17, 2008 at 6:50 am

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before Charlie! Rachel did such a great job!

In my alternate reality, growing up I loved the show Quincy. I remember telling Mom that I wanted to become a medical examiner and be an interior designer on the side!

Anne (happy fun pants) said
December 17, 2008 at 6:52 am

Awww…you guys did such a great job! And also, I loved that you had that guy break up the scene at 1:08…smart move! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tuscanystone said
December 17, 2008 at 6:55 am

Beautiful! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m with Lynn, I’m welling up! But then I do have tonsillitis….lol

Honestly Charlie, that was lovely, thanks for sharing it with us

Tusc ๐Ÿ˜€

Charlie said
December 17, 2008 at 6:55 am

Biz: Now that would have been a good show. “Biz, M.E., I.D.” Talk about must see tee vee…

Tuscanystone said
December 17, 2008 at 6:57 am

Oh! And I loved the bit when when someone walked in front the camera and your daughter giggled but you remained composed……lol Just goes to show that women learn to multi task at a very young age!! lol


Dinah Soar said
December 17, 2008 at 7:34 am

Wonderful! What a nice activity to share with your daughter. I can read music and always wanted to play the piano but have no talent for it.

honi said
December 17, 2008 at 11:23 am

Beautiful simply Beautiful

Jennifer said
December 17, 2008 at 12:01 pm

That was great Charlie, however that song is forever ruined in my head because of the Ding Fries are Done on YouTube!

Would you like an apple pie with that?

If you don’t know what I am talking about check this out…

If that doesn’t work, just go to you tube and put in “ding fries are done” and pick the first one!

Megan said
December 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

This truly touched me…the music was beautiful, but the smiles and love between you and your daughter…priceless.

johngl said
December 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm

What a cool dad you are!

Shea said
December 17, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Ditto for me… tears, happiness, and all that holiday good stuff. Cool.

Vicki said
December 18, 2008 at 8:43 pm

How neat for your daughter (who btw is very pretty) that you’re such a great dad! I loved seeing you perform together. Sounded really good!

Other Blogs of Note This Week said
December 19, 2008 at 1:09 am

[…] Very Funny Back To The Fridge – Alternate Reality # 1 – Charlie shows that he’s a proud fatherย when he and his daughter sit at a pianoย playing […]

Courtney said
December 21, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Wow. I LOVE your arrangement of this!

You wouldn’t be willing to share the music, would you? ๐Ÿ™‚