An Open Letter of Apology

Graduate final

To all the teachers, professors, nuns, parents and Palmer method tutors. I apologize for making your life a living hell. You were right and I’m sorry to have to realize this fact so late in life. Whatever I could do to destroy the pillars of higher learning I did it. I distracted, deflected, demeaned and disengaged from all scholarly pursuits until, in frustration, I was shown the door. Rolled down the front stairs and condemned to a life of factory work, fry stations, mediocre rock bands and any and all activities that would remove as many brain cells as possible.

I was merely too brilliant for the mortals who stayed on to endure that nonsense.

I’m getting to the “if you think I’m bad” section soon enough so bear with me. In the mean time, and this is where my apology crystallizes, I am amazed at what information stuck. Whatever standards and curriculum were in place in the 50’s and 60’s had to be constructed to get through to even the most hard headed, rebellious, ingrate. Or maybe it was osmosis. Whatever. Something took. Thank you, please accept my heart felt gratitude and grant me your forgiveness.

I have no idea what happened between then and now but what I see today as a far as literacy and engagement is bewildering. I saw a piece on TV last night where they interviewed a lot of young people in Harvard Sq. about politics and current events. I laughed my ass off.

Then I got scared.

Politics is a nasty game and not always worth the time and effort if you want to maintain a level of sanity. But to head off into the world so poorly prepared to engage and communicate is a bleak scenario. For everyone.

I blame the system. There’s no way you can’t be responsible for the travesty you have allowed to happen over these last decades. It is rampant and repugnant.

This has been going on for years and I blame the (not all) smarmy little would-be intellectual bullshit artists who have the nerve to tell some under served kid it’s OK to go ahead and purchase that cap and gown. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the faculty lounge.

By way of anecdote, I had a series of bands throughout the 70’s (so they tell me) and I had the good fortune to find a very gifted guitar player who had just graduated from Arlington high school. Though under age, I could still get him into the bars and clubs on our circuit. I told him to create the set lists for each of our gigs and pass out copies to the rest of the band. He refused. Just refused. After a series of threats, (including physicality) he agreed.

What he created stunned and confused me. I thought what he put on paper was sarcasm, meant to tell me to shove off. That wasn’t the case. He was for all intents and purposes illiterate. I now had the intellectual equivalent of a five year old in my band and my Berklee training as a writer and arranger was useless as far as he was concerned.

So what’s next for these hapless generations? A life full of dumbed down computer programs? A crap shoot of auto-fill and 140 characters? Will technology allow these pawns to succeed in spite of themselves? Let’s hope so but I doubt it.

Back to my mea culpa. Thank you again. To all who endured me. I apologize and I hope you are someplace being rewarded for your patience.



Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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