Bass.The Fish, Not The Instrument

Middle school band class was not a joke. My teacher pushed us to the bone, playing songs colleges struggle to pull off. When we had a substitute teacher, instead of letting us have a break, our teacher gave clear instructions to the substitute. We were to watch VHS tapes on classic composers, followed by a quiz to ensure we paid attention. On the top of the chalkboard (which was covered in music theory that looked like calculus) was a photo of our teacher fishing. I have no idea why he chose that particular picture to hang or what it meant. It wasn’t even framed. Just a single, glossy, 4” by 6” photograph stuck to the wall. I stared at it every single day. While he was explaining the proper way to tap your foot, I just stared at that picture. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What did it mean? Was it to inspire us? Scare us? Never in those three years did he acknowledge the photo. Then one day, my world changed. A percussion player finally asked the forbidden question:

“Why do you have that picture hanging there?”

“It’s just to show you all what I’d rather be doing.”

Our class roared a great laugh. People could not contain themselves. I, on the other hand, could not believe it. Had he been waiting this whole time for someone to ask that question? It was obvious he had that snarky response rehearsed. What would have happened if that percussion student never asked? Would he be disappointed? I know I was. For three years I had been thinking about all the mysterious reasons why such a picture would be hanging for all to see. Perhaps he met his true love on that trip. Or something even cooler, such as catching a fish everyone had believed to be extinct. Nope. 

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