Concert

Concert: (n) a musical performance given in public

At a very early age I convinced myself I could sing. Growing up in a small village, there was not much competition–and since I was willing to intone and offer my voice as a possibility, folks around my community had no reason to doubt my prowess.

So when I graduated from high school, rather than heading off to college and finding out if anyone outside of Delaware County thought I funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
could sing, I put together a music group, started writing some of my own songs and planned concerts.

I immediately learned the difficulty in concert promotion.

  1. Just because you think you can sing does not mean anybody wants to hear you.
  2. And if you can convince them to come to your concert, it may require that you offer some other stimulus, like refreshments. Or prizes.
  3. If anything else comes up before the concert, or even on concert day, which is more alluring, chances are that promise to attend, even by your friends, is quickly forsaken.
  4. People’s patience in hearing you sing is based upon how well you can take them to a happier (or sad) place and make them glad they went there.
  5. Just because you can sing doesn’t mean anybody wants to buy a recording of you doing it, so they can play it in their free time.

These were tough lessons.

So ferocious was my training during this period that I often found it difficult to supply food for my family and was only able to lodge as long as I could dodge coming face-to-face with the landlord.

It was actually many years before anyone, of their own volition, walked up to me and said, “Hey! When’s your next concert?”

I froze the moment in my mind… and replay it frequently.

 

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Ceiling

Ceiling: (n) the upper interior surface of a room

I offer no criticism nor judgment to those who pursue owning their own domicile where they can roam the halls as Lord or Lady of the
Manor. For about eleven years, I did it myself.

I was intrigued. I was told by those who owned homes that it was ridiculous to pay rent and have no revenue being laid up for the future.

I bought into it.

For a while it went along real well. I especially was fascinated with adding small improvements that would show my flair and style.

And then the house turned against me. It felt very personal.

I do not know what I did to offend my four walls and a roof, but one after another, grievances, complaints and near-disaster lined up to offer a rebellious tantrum.

One night it all came to a head as I was sitting in my bedroom and the ceiling began to leak.

No–that word is too passive. It actually poured water down on me and the floor below.

It didn’t stop. There was no explanation. And I will always remember my first inclination:

“Damn, somebody outghta DO something about this.”

It took me a moment, but I did eventually realize that “somebody,” in this case, was me.

The explanation for my outpouring was pretty simple. The hot water heater had exploded, pouring out all of its contents–ruining carpets, warping floors and making the house smell like a high school locker room.

After eleven years, I got rid of my home. I will never own another one.

I do not begrudge those who disagree with my assessment, but for me, when the ceiling begins to pour forth water, I want to call a landlord instead of tapping my own resources.

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Arrears

dictionary with letter A

Arrears: (n) money that is owed and should have been paid earlier.

I was twenty years old, married and had two children–and also had no business living in an apartment of my own.

The option was to be homeless.

Since this was frowned upon (and a bit chilly) my family helped me to acquire a lodging space which only cost fifty dollars a month, but might as well have been five thousand. At that point I had no funds whatsoever.

So the landlord was very nice to us as we moved in a few sticks of donated furniture. He answered all of our questions about the abode, and even continued to be understanding when the first month passed and we had no finance to contribute to our situation.

Yes. It only took thirty-one days for us to be in arrears.

He even avoided bothering us in the next twenty-nine days, out of some inclination to be magnanimous and hopeful.

When he arrived at our door on day sixty to collect his rent, which had now accumulated to the king’s ransom of one hundred dollars, my wife and I decided to hide behind the couch and pretend we were not home, so as to avoid our “fears of the arrears.”

Periodically after that, he would visit. In order to not appear repetitious, we occasionally even hid in the closet.

After four months of arrears, he saw me one day in the local grocery store, and still trying to maintain a bit of dignity but also embarrass me, he confronted me in front of a few ladies perched near produce.

“Are you ever going to pay your rent?” he asked.

In a moment of surprising veracity, I said, “No, sir. Matter of fact, I don’t even know if I can afford this pack of bologna I have in my hand.”

Surprisingly, he laughed and so did the ladies who had paused to stare at what were certainly unwanted radishes.

After that moment of glee, he explained that I needed to move out.

I was not disappointed, nor offended, and I certainly was not surprised.

After all, being in arrears does mean that you should be prepared … to move to the rear.

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