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Where There Are Bagpipes
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I’ve never understood bagpipes. Until I saw today’s suggested prompt.
And until, for some odd reason , the subject of bagpipes came up in lunchtime conversation with a pal.

Immediately, as my wacky writers mind is prone to, words arose and began to befriend each other ….,and i recalled todays prompt and realized this: THE BAGPIPE- that quaint and astonishingly long-lived Scottish “musical” instrument – makes a sound that marries perfectly the experiences of grief (ouch, my ears) and laughter (good god, what a nutty silly ,improbable sound !! Laughing so i won’t cry….my ears bleed.).

Put aside the fact that i enjoy handsome men in kilts (though sadly most bagpipers seem to be beer-fed lumpy men of a certain age), and put aside the other fact that BRIGADOON is one of my most favorite Broadway musicals, all misty and kilty and Highland flingie and deeply romantic, I am also intrigued by the age-old question: what do Scotsmen wear under their kilts?….come on, admit it, your imagination runs wild trying to answer it, right?……all those (maybe) naked Scots….?

Anyway, putting all those cultural associations aside, there is the matter of the simple instrument itself.

A highly unlikely- looking object, all puffy when blown and awkwardly spindly when not , it seems to crawl on the upper body of the person playing it. Not mightily, like the tuba that hugs the body majestically, or the trombone that pushes and gives and pushes and gives in a pleasurable manner, no….the bagpipe clings, like a needy infant…a troubled infant out of whom is emerging the most god awful screeches and moans imaginable!!

The bagpipe complains! Objects and rages against any attempt at making sense of its own sounds.

And despite my admiration for the use of the classical drone tone in Appalachian music and other cozy folk music, when i hear the bagpipes drone, i want to tear out its very throat, as if I was a troubled pooch destroying a new noisy stuffy. If I’m a peace-seeking member of a benighted wedding party, I’m in a constant state of wanting to hit the celebratory bagpipe, make it go away, make it shut up. It makes me want to destroy the wedding cake! It certainly bodes ill (as far as I am concerned) for the future of the happy couple!

But maybe that is why the bagpipe exists: to engender rage in those who hear it! To feed an already troubled soul into violence… call men to war….. naked ,skin-dyed- blue battle! To ignite the heart to conquer ones enemies, so that the piper, and all who survive the battle, can go home, put the bagpipe back in the closet and settle down for a night of ale and porridge, to later engage with ones mate in a night of kiltish love-making.

In any event, when i hear of high school bagpipe corps or community bagpipe clubs engaging in Saturday morning practices or rehearsals for the next parade, i feel sad for the poor neighbors who wish to spend a quiet morning sleeping. It’s enough to make them want to leap out of bed, put on their yard work kilts and run the power mower in a combative angry cheer.

I envision yard signs proclaiming “SEND TRUMP TO HELL!” and, of course “DOWN WITH ALL BAGPIPES!!!!!”
“BAG THE BAGPIPES” and other such…..or best of all “SEND THE BAGPIPES TO TRUMP!”

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