Recently as I rummaged through the aisles of my community’s bi-monthly clutter bazaar, I longed for the days when glib treasures competed for my attention and every trip was a Sophie’s Choice between a stranger’s toiletry and a European electronics cable whose ends were created for a technology that never existed. But the momentary fad of Marie Kondo had triggered a mass exodus of personal belongings that do no spark joy, and the bazaar was saturated with nothing but practical items. Yet to come away, empty-handed would prove right the little boy who had earlier stuck his tongue out at me and said I was currently mismanaging my 30′s. But lo and behold something caught my eye like an errant fishing hook. Underneath a pamphlet on when to ski and a can of live spaghetti, was an old friend, the complete works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I quickly scooped up the collection and handed the junk attendant a wad of cash. He gave a knowing look and said my money was no good here. I knew my money was good because I had printed it at my house myself that morning, but thanked the man anyway and rushed home to catch up with my past.
I pulled the cover off of the phonograph that had replaced my air mattress years ago. I generally use it to bore people until they realize I my entire personality is nothing more than a drawn-out description of all the things I’ve bought. But today it was going to connect me with an old friend. I had a special connection to Mozart that no one else did. Many said they liked Mozart, but for me, it wasn’t so much about him, as it was about his music. I was unique in that I liked to listen to it, often waving my finger around as if I was one of those conductors that direct symphonies from a bean bag chair. Mozart let me know it was okay to listen to sounds and close your eyes at the same time. I woke up my turtles and placed them around the phonograph to let them in on a part of my life I rarely speak to them about on account that they’re turtles. I threw the wax on the phonograph and dropped the needle on Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter,” 1st Movement “Allegro Vivace.” The turtles stuck their heads out, and I swear, if those turtles were dogs they would have ran away from me years ago! But even as dogs I believed they would have stuck around for such ear heroin in the key of C major. I was instantly taken back to my days in 18th century Austria, living off moldy bread and the village stew. Mozart’s music spoke to me and said, “You don’t have to be an apprentice to a candle maker in total silence.” I’ll never forget the first time I saw him in concert. I thought, “What strange man is this who wears a big white curly toupee even though he has hair?” Back then it gave me a shot of jollity in a time when most of my family was dying from lack of vitamin C and drive by sword swings.
I then put on Serenade No. 13 “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” I prepared to tap my foot like an impatient old man, when suddenly the song came on… and I. Became. Furious. The initial strings that had inspired me to be a boy who combs his hair suddenly made me want to pull it all out. What I remembered as a classic, now sounded like a ringtone in a commercial. I apologized to my turtles and quickly changed it to Piano Concerto No. 21, 2nd Movement. My turtles slowly turned around and climbed back into their respective terrariums. As I watched the needle careen methodically around the grooves of the record, I realized, this was TERRIBLE. Was this music or Bugs Bunny waking up in the morning? This 2nd Movement sounded more like a bowel movement. I went for the surefire hit Overture to Marriage Of Figaro. More complete crap. A melancholy dropped over me that I had not felt since I learned which person I was in photos. One thing was for certain, Mozart is not very good. Maybe it had a time and a place, but that was hundreds of years ago, and I was a different person back then. I remember putting on my long-tailed fancy clothes and traveling three days to watch him play in front of dozens of people. I had fond memories of standing completely motionless and thinking that I wasn’t just a peasant that day, I was a peasant who had stolen a dead man’s long-tailed fancy clothes. But what I was listening to now, was complete garbage. It didn’t even have any words. How you have a song without words? They had poems back then. Throw a poem on top of the song, boom, welcome to music Mozart!
As if the record was rejecting itself, the phonograph skipped to Rondo Alla Turca. At least I think it was Rondo Alla Turca. The only thing I was certain of was that the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did not hold up. I immediately started tearing down all of my Mozart posters. I trashed my Mozart statues. I smashed all of my Mozart flatware. I took my “I love Mozart more than you do” shirt off and collected all of my Mozart clothes, which is all of my clothes, and threw them in a pile. The third movement of the sonata tortured my ears like the emergency broadcast system being played on a chalkboard. In a fiery rage I meticulously took apart my Mozart coffee table and unplugged my Mozart lamps and disconnected my Mozart ceiling fan and poured my vintage Mozart gasoline all over them and as the sickening melody that seemed birthed from the devil himself commanded me, I set my Mozart themed bungalow ablaze.
And as a dissonant crescendo jeered at the burning inferno, I turned to grab my turtles, but they had already left.
Maybe they were dogs after all.