Before I knew it, the teller looked at me with a big smile and said, looking at my debit card, “Wow, you’ve got some pipes and some soul, Mr. Agnew!” “Oh shoot!” I thought to myself. I felt my eyes widen in sheer embarrassment. “Well,” I said sheepishly, “my bad! I didn’t intend for that to come out.” “Oh no, I just wanna know when the next concert is going to be. I felt like I was in a music video or a musical for a second.” Evidently, her colleague and my fellow bank patrons agreed as I saw nods and heard sounds of affirmation from the peanut gallery.
Sadly, this was not the first time that my everyday life had been likened to a musical theater performance. One of my best friends, Rachel (Pittman) Bishop once told me that hanging out with my sister, Tiffany, and me was like having a front row seat at a hit Broadway show. The slightest mention of a word or phrase would spark a full on rendition of some song – in perfect harmony, mind you – with my sister. All along I thought it was Tiffany who served as the catalyst of my accidental bursts of song. I was obviously wrong.
But what if my random musical interludes were commonplace in our society? What if life was one big musical – an off-off Broadway show? The setting – everywhere; the plot – life; the cast – a star studded ensemble of everyone and frequently featuring you. How awesome would it be if we all sang along as various moments of joy, conflict, woe, and melancholy ignited a song? Just think how you would feel if your next door neighbor sang backup along side the woman walking her dog and the mailman as you belted out the song lyrics:
“I just got a raise….
After so many years in this rat maze
I finally got a raise….”
Celebrations would take on a whole new meaning for even the most conservative cultures, as entire neighborhoods would dance in the streets, stepping flawlessly to complex choreography, while singing in perfect harmony (kind of like that opening dance routine of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery). Moreover, we all know that falling in love makes us all want to sing out loud and shout from the roof tops like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, “to be loved, to be loved – oh what a feeling…” Unfortunately, the reality is that not every occasion will call for a happy song. Sometimes the human experience mandates the mundane, the inexplicable and the painful.
Let’s face it, as Mary Poppins would agree, music is that spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine (life) go down. A bad day would be so much easier to deal with given that a chorus of perfect strangers would help you sing about your flat tire, job loss, or recent breakup. We might even be able to stomach a state of the union address better if the President sang the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of our country's economy. Fortunately, this current President (Barack Obama) can actually carry a tune in a bucket – so, that might be worth tuning in to hear.
What I gleaned from the bank experience is that sometimes we all really want a song, but certainly not all the time. So the next time you feel the urge to sing a little ditty brought on by your present situation, go ahead and sing it out loud. You never know who will help back you up and sing along or serve as your listening audience.