How I Became A Pod

     Remember the movies where space aliens conquer the Earth by turning people into pods? Humans lose their minds, their will, their individuality, and brainlessly do whatever the space aliens tell them.
     It happened to me.
     Let me tell you how.
     Long ago, I went to a music conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, to study saxophone with Joe Allard, and because I had to, I studied theory, music history and whatnot with other people.
     In my two years at Manhattan, I noticed that opera fans are out of their minds. I learned that operatic sopranos are even more insane than the opera nuts, and that tenors … well, the Italians have a saying: stupido, stupidissimo, tenore.
     I’m not trying to be unkind. It happens to be a fact that operatic sopranos are out of their minds, and that a person blessed with a terrific tenor voice will probably come up a bit short in the brains department, and that opera nuts need help.
     That’s not my opinion. That’s how it is.
     I’m not biased. This is the Voice of Experience talking.
     I’ve sung in the chorus of operas.
     I sat through the entire “Ring” cycle at the Met.
     I toured Europe playing bass clarinet in an opera.
     But I never cared for opera.
     It’s excessive.
     It’s ridiculous.
     It’s in Italian.
     I don’t like it.
     However …
     I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading about Mozart. I just felt like it, that’s all. In doing so, I got extremely tired of hearing all these dudes wax euphoric over arias such as “Non so piu, cosa son,” which, we all remember, Cherubino sings in Act I of “Le Nozze di Figaro.” But when I saw a used CD of the entire opera for sale, cheap, right next to Dexter Gordon’s “Our Man In Paris,” I figured, what the hell, twelve dollars for an opera is cheap. So I listened to the whole opera one morning as I put together the Courthouse News Web page.
     Then I listened to it again.
     And again.
     Then, I am sorry to say, I started hunting for my favorite arias, such as … umm … well … such as “Non so piu, cosa son,” which Cherubino sings in … in … in Act I.
     This has gone on for weeks.
     Now, I am even more sorry to say, I find myself singing “Non so piu, cosa son,” and “Se vuol ballare, Signor Contino,” to my own words, without cease, around the clock.
     I can’t put on hot water for coffee without singing an aria to the goddamn teakettle.
     When I walk my dog Rufus, I can’t stop singing, “Se vuol andare, Signor Ruffino.”
    When Jane asks me a question I sing her the answer, in stupid rhymes, to the tune of “Non piu andrai,” which, let’s face it, is the high point for Figaro, even though it’s  in Act I, which is the best act, don’t you think?
     I can’t help it. I have dozens of CDs by my desk, with music of every description – it might as well be rutabagas. I only have ears for Figaro.
     So you know what I did? That’s right. I bought “The Magic Flute” and “Don Giovanni.” As a matter of fact, when I couldn’t find a copy of “Don Giovanni,” I was a desperate man. But I found it.
     It didn’t help. They can’t touch Figaro.
     Though I have to admit, the Queen of the Night’s aria, “Der Hölle Rache,” is really something. And Don Giovanni’s and Zerlina’s duet, “La ci darem la mano,” 217 years after Mozart wrote it, is still as …

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