the crash.html

Ben’s Notes


Some years ago, while I was a professional musician, playing congas and percussion at night on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; I also had this weekday job. It was very boring, and I was constantly late for work. My boss grew tired of it and, one day, announced, "All habitual late comers; If you come late one more without an absolute, legitimate excuse, you are FIRED!" Well, it wasn’t too long after that, I was late for work again. On the bus to work, and since I was on the verge of being fired anyway, I wrote out this excuse in the form of a poem. When I got to the job, I walked strait to the boss, handed him the poem and said, "This is an absolute legitimate excuse!"


I’m sorry if I am late
but my dog flew over the gate!
Oh! You’re wondering why ….. a dog would fly?
Well listen and I will relate!
Big Bad Brute got up this morning
and then, without any warning,
knocked the coffee pot down ….. spread the trash around,
broke ten dishes, five cups, and some corning!
Then Brute got to feeling good
‘cause something told him that he could.
He knocked down a table ….. and, to prove that he was able,
did his business right where my shoes stood!
Now, it might be something new,
‘cause wings on a dog is taboo.
But that Bad Brute of mine ….. got a saw behind;
‘cause I kicked his butt! That’s how he flew!

The boss laughed and told me, "get out of here! Go to work!"


One day, late at night, I was waiting at the train station, in New Jersey, for the LAST train to New York City. I spotted a scale over on the side that read $.10. So I went over to weigh myself. I stepped on the scale, put in the dime, the machine clicked, and a card came out through this slot on the side. I pulled it out and read:

"You are Puerto Rican. You were born in New York City on Jan. 8 1939. You weigh 180 lbs, and you are on your way to New York City."

I said, "wait a minute! How can this machine know that much about me?" Well earlier, on the way to the train station, I had noticed this real Indian, over on the side, selling souvenirs. I got an Idea. I went back to the Indian and said, "let me borrow your outfit for just 10 minutes and I’ll give you $10." He said, "OK". I put on the outfit, went back to the machine, and thought to myself, "now lets see if you can figure this out!" I got on the scale, put in the dime, the machine clicked, and out through this slot came this card. It read:

"You are still a Puerto Rican. You were still born in New York City on Jan. 8 1939. You still weigh 180 lbs. You WERE on your way to New York City, but you went around the corner and messed with that Indian. Now you missed your train!"


Going back some 20 years in my musical career, I was playing congas and bongos with this Jazz group. There was the organ player, who played base with the foot peddles; the sax player; and a lady drummer, a good friend of mine, named Eleanor Lazenby; a real good drummer! We were playing at this Jazz spot called "Vinas", on Western Avenue, just before you get to Martin Luther King Blvd., in Los Angeles. The Joint was Jumping! Eleanor and I were clicking in unity and creation like the wheels on the New York Subway Train. The jazz tunes were popping and swinging. Both Eleanor on the sticks, and I on the congas, took solos.

There was this dance floor directly in front of the musicians. This couple was dancing; really good dancers. But, when they came into the club, they were already high. As the night went on, they drank more and more and began to wobble. Now, I was situated right in front, and off to the left of the drummer. Eleanor said, "lets play a Latin tune so you could take a solo." Of course, this would be Latin jazz, with heavy Latin rhythm. We started the tune with me on congas. The same two dancers got out onto the floor and started to dance; or I should say wobble, ‘cause by now, they were sort of drunk. We were sounding really good, and they kept dancing. Then it was time for me to take my solo. Eleanor kept time for me on the stick drums. I switched to the bongos, turned my head off further to the left, closed my eyes, and started this beautiful hot bongo solo. I was unaware of the dancers now because I was deep into the drums. The solo went on for a good while and Eleanor was doing a great job keeping time for me. Then, I heard this big crash of cymbals and floor drums, and sticks hitting different places, and the sound suddenly stopped. I was now playing this solo alone! I thought to myself, "What an OUTSTANDING way to send me out there on my own!" I became more invigorated and got deeper into my drums. I kept on playing for quite some time. Then, after a long while, Eleanor joined back in and we finished the solo. The audience really loved it and clapped loudly!

Now it was time for a break, and I turned to Eleanor and said, "Hay Eleanor, how come you stopped playing and left me out there alone?" She said, "Man, didn’t you see those two drunken dancers fall into my drums?" We cracked up laughing! That was the most DRAMATIC crash of cymbals, sticks, and drums I have ever heard! I couldn’t see ‘cause it all happened behind me and, besides, my eyes were closed and I was wailing on cloud nine! I thought Eleanor was being highly CREATIVE and purposely did it to send me out there on a lone bongo solo. All the time, while I was soloing, she was picking up and re-assembling her instruments. In the meantime, those two drunken dancers gave it up for the night, wobbling out of the club. It was really hilarious! We cracked up over that one for a long, long time!

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