Sunday, November 20, 2016


A few weeks ago, I was sitting at the dining room table, staring at my computer and dreading the papers I had to grade. Oh yeah, did I tell you I taught a college class? Much like Elijah’s Taekwando classes, guitar lessons, cooking classes and drama classes, I went into it with high intentions. And like Elijah, was stunned to learn I actually had to do stuff. But unlike Elijah, I couldn’t quit three weeks into it.

Anyhoo, I was just about to give 20 kids the old “Hamann A Minus” when I heard something peculiar from our front room. The “Flintstones Theme.” It was a little janky and hesitant, but I could make out “Flintstones…meet the Flintstones…they’re the modern Stone Age fam-i-ly…”

I raced into the room and found Eli plucking out the song on our little keyboard.

“Hey!  That’s the Flintstones!” I said.

Eli pointed to the sheet music that said “The Flintstones” and said, “Uh huh.”

“You can play the piano.”

“Uh huh.”

“When did this happen?”

“I dunno.”

“Do you even know who The Flintstones are?”

“Yes. They are on our vitamins.”

My son could play the piano. With real notes. From sheet music. I was flabbergasted. I mean, I knew he and Luca were taking lessons, but I assumed those were spent giving their teacher increasingly bizarre excuses for not practicing. “Uh…there was this dinosaur, see. And he was driving a spaceship and it crashed into our piano. Also. He ate the piano.”

I became overly enthusiastic about piano. I was so excited that they were into something, anything. Even if it was not something I could dominate them in.

Diana then told me the boys had a recital on the weekend she was going to visit her sister. I became a lot less enthusiastic about piano. Don’t get me wrong. I was really fine with listening to the boys play in front of a crowd. It was listening to 13 other kids play that bothered me. When your kids suck it’s adorable. When other kids suck it’s hell.

The recital was at an incredibly fancy piano store in an incredibly fancy town north of us. On the way, Luca began his Hamann genetic pre disposition panic. “I’m scared. I don’t want to play.”

I pulled a Jedi Mind Trick on him. “Fine. Don’t play. This is your life. No one will care if you play or not. Those other parents aren’t here to see you anyway.”

This confused him enough to convince him to sit at the massive grand piano and hammer out “Little Brown Jug.” But not before a very nice sales woman tried to convince us all to purchase a $9,000 piano as part of some kind of time-share con for letting us use their store.

Luca nailed his two minute piece. Then Eli nailed his two minutes of “The Flintstones.” And then it dawned on me. Every kid had just a two minute piece. We’d be out of there in 20 minutes! Their teacher was a genius!

I almost bought a $9,000 piano out of gratitude.

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