Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Tale of the Three Cool Dudes and the Old Fart 

Once upon a time there were three Cool Dudes. Cool Dude One could play a mean guitar, and he could sing; Cool Dude Two also played guiter, and he wore some wicked shades; Cool Dude Three played jus’ ‘bout anything that had keys, or strings, or could be hit with sticks. He was *Real Cool*. The three Cool Dudes shook hands dude–style when they met, wrote their emails in txt-spk... and wore their jeans at half mast.

One day, a Good Public-Spirited Citizen in the town where these three Cool Dudes lived decided that it would be a good idea to hold an event in the town to showcase all the local organisations who do Good Things in the local community. There would be stalls and sideshows and games and a stage set out on the grass with a BIG sound system; well, big for this small town, anyway. So he made a plan, and he gave it a name – a Community Fun Day - and he rallied support, and he got permission to hold the event in the local park, and he sent out messages to the local community groups – and he also prayed fervently for a sunny day.

Now, the three Cool Dudes belonged to local churches and, believing those two features of their lives – coolness and churchgoing – not to be mutually exclusive, wanted to put on something at this fun day to demonstrate this non-mutual-exclusivity. Together, they nearly had a band – if only Cool Dude Three had six arms (he’s the one who can play keyboard AND guitar AND bass AND drums, you remember) they’d be alright. Hey, well, y’kno, they *were* alright – I mean, like, all RIGHT, yeah? But sadly Cool Dude Three, in spite of all his unbelieeeevable coolness, was endowed only with the one pair of arms, same as those of us with only the tiniest modicum of cool.

Now, you can’t not have drums in a band that has even the most modest pretentions towards rockiness, and one thing this band was not, was shy about was their sound; they liked people to be able to hear their music – from half a mile away. So that decided where Cool Dude Three’s talents were going to be employed - hitting things with sticks. Loud.

But a band ain’t a band without a bass player. So Cool Dude Three spoke to his Dad, and Cool Dude Three’s Dad spoke to a friend of his in another church, and Cool Dude Three’s Dad’s friend gave Cool Dude Three the name of an Old Fart he knew at his church who plays bass guitar.

So they all got together for a practice one Sunday afternoon in Cool Dude One’s church, (which really only pretends to be a church on Sunday mornings – for the rest of the week it’s a community hall) and Old Fart had to turn up the wick on his bass amp higher than he’d ever had it before, just so that he could hear himself play. Even if it hadn’t been such a hot day, which it was, they’d still have had to open the doors just to let the sound out.

And so it was that, a week later, Old Fart found himself on stage (tucked unobtrusively away at the back) plugged into the BIG (for a small town) sound system, with Cool Dude Three at his side and Cool Dudes One and Two out front (with Cool Dude Two wearing his super-cool shades), plugging away at six songs he’d never even heard just a week before (but emailed MP3’s and MP3 players that can be listened to unobtrusively in the office all day work wonders for familiarity).

It was a bit ragged round the edges, but the three Cool Dudes and the Old Fart managed to hold it all together and gained a polite round of applause. And Old Fart’s daughter, at her boyfriend’s house half a mile away (well half a kilometre anyway, but who's counting?), could hear them, so there was success on at least one front.

Some of the Dudes’ coolness may have rubbed off on the Old Fart – he already knew how to write in txt-spk (although he doesn’t very often) and now he can even shake hands dude-style - when he remembers, that is.

But he doesn’t wear his jeans at half mast so he’ll never make it as a *real* Cool Dude.

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