Vertiginous Pipe Bands

July 6, 2016 on 7:56 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands | Comments Off on Vertiginous Pipe Bands

When I was a kid and whiling away summer hours at the lake and stuck indoors-bound by rainstorms and whatever – and if memory serves me right, rain aside, it might be punishment for something; anyway, I’d reach for any old amusement that might while away those hours. Playing with matches was never on the list because that was allowed at the lake – oh, sweet happy days. But still, a summer place with no electricity (or plumbing) helped mark the bar pretty low when it came to entertainment. Or, high, depending on the cut of your Birkenstocks.

The family place outside of Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec, thanks to my Grammy’s cast-off Harlequins and thanks to aunts and uncles and whoever else came before us at the place, the cottage was always full of pulp fiction, “dime store” pocket books, fusty comics and “Reader’s Digests”. The Reader’s Digest, surely the historical go-to toilet reading and a sort of old-school, paper-based “internet”: lots of short stories, one-page attention grabbers and the sort of “little spans of attention” that might make up today’s internet content.

There was always a page in “Reader’s Digest” that I seemed to cotton on to: the “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” feature. Here readers were tested to guess the true meaning of offered-up mostly seldom-used words. I loved the challenge (and really, what choice did I have) and made a point to do my best to retain words I didn’t know. Vertiginous is one word I distinctly recall picking up thanks to RD (reminder: characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness). As I think of it, vertiginous may be a mighty fine pipe band adjudicator’s word, but, still, will personally hold-off inflicting on any band pending wider distribution of that particular 1960s RD issue: oh, you, with your vertiginous medley closers.
i wake up screaming pulp fiction
Today we all have phones, tablets and easy access to the whole damned world – one that will tag (haunt) us forever. No need for quaint Reader’s Digests, or other simple paper-based amusements. We text, instant message, email or publish on any ten-a-penny easy to snag website, our thoughts and pronouncements. Exhibit A – what I am doing here.

Imagine your text messages between you and your best pal made public. Or those between you and your not-so-best pal.

Not pretty.

And so, I dip my oar in the fetid (yes an RD word!) water that, thanks, in part, to unnecessary publicity, sees a bunch of people ostracized for being alleged pricks (that is, allegedly saying unflattering things about an accredited pipe band judge on a “members only” website) – my opinion, such as it is: unless you’ve got angel’s wings tucked under your black barathea, every one of us has unwittingly or otherwise said something not-so-great about a judge, another band, a piper a drummer – or maybe even your Grammy, who might’ve had really bad taste in reading material. And if you have been a pipe band judge even once, rest assured karma will have done it’s thing and you can say you’ve experienced both sides. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre.

Better maybe to just quietly keep on keeping on.

M.

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