Rep. Peter King,|Muslims and Me

     I’m glad that the Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has decided to investigate the radicalization and terrorist activities of Christians in the United States.
     Ha ha! Just a little joke on Committee Chairman Peter King, R-Sodom, whom I would never accuse of being a posturing political prostitute until I think of some more words that begin with P.
     Chairman King hasn’t called me yet, but I want to go on the record right now and say that I have two Muslim friends, at least, not counting my friends who are hiding their Shameful Secret.
     My friends’ names are Fouad and Steve. I will gladly tell Chairman King anything he wants to know about them, so long as The Chairman (a) comes to my house, and (b) takes a drug test.
     Ha ha! Just a little joke on The Chairman, who probably has not had to pee in a jar since he became a Member of Congress, and probably has not taken any LSD for a long time.
     And speaking of LSD, I’ve been waiting for years to tell this true story, and I want to thank The Chairman for giving me a reason to tell it. This story was told to me on a band bus by … umm … let’s call him Beavis.
     This was a long time ago.
     Beavis was a brilliant clarinetist, from a small town in Wisconsin. One day he got a call asking him to sub for the first clarinetist at the Barnum & Bailey 3-Ring Circus, which was playing a gig at a place I’ll call Hellandgone, Wisconsin.
     Well, work is work, so Beavis said, sure. He got on the bus for the long ride and the guy sitting next to him asked him if he wanted to take some LSD.
     “What’s that?” Beavis said.
     “It’s like speed,” the guy told him.
     So Beavis said, sure. And he took two or three of them.
     Beavis, as I said, was a brilliant clarinetist. Like many musicians, he was extremely intelligent, well-read, amusing and … a bit odd.
     I personally saw him, while stuck in a band bus in rush hour traffic, pound on the back door shouting, “Let me out!” until the bus driver opened the door. I saw Beavis stride over six lanes of car hoods and trunks and disappear into a bar.
     He made the gig on time and played beautifully.
     Anyway, Beavis was becoming acquainted with LSD as he screwed together his clarinet and piccolo and set up for the circus gig.
     Circus music is not easy. Dumb, maybe, but not easy. It’s fast, march-type music, and the first clarinet part is usually way up in the stratosphere, where fingerings get mighty tricky. Also, the keys are frequently insane and change rapidly, from five sharps to six flats and back, and the time signatures may change every few measures, from 3/4 to 2/4 to 12/8 to 5/8, and so on.
     So. Beavis had set up, and the conductor struck up the overture, and Beavis was sight-reading like crazy, doubling on clarinet and piccolo, when – well, I’ll let Beavis tell it.
     “These two rocket ships came out and started chasing each other around the center ring, with sparks flying behind. These little tiny legs churning under the rocket ships. So I’m sight-reading like a (bad word), and then the rocket ships set down and the hatches open up, and then twenty midgets pour out of the rocket ships, dressed in space-man suits and antennas, and start chasing each other around the ring, while the rockets keep shooting sparks. And I’m playing in R Sharp, and doubling on piccolo.
     “You’ve had LSD, man. You know that stuff’s not like speed.”
     I shall end Beavis’ story here.
     The only reason I bring it up is that Chairman King’s Homeland Security Committee hearings this week brought it to my mind. I’m not sure why.
     I’m not telling the story to suggest that anyone take LSD, or run off to join the circus, or play the clarinet or piccolo, or anything. No, no. That stuff’s dangerous.
     But I would like to point out that many people of my generation, and of Chairman King’s generation – The Chairman is 66, 7 years older than me – many people of our generation, I was saying, took LSD, and though I would not recommend it, it didn’t seem to have hurt us, much.
     I mean, not many of us became congressmen, or anything.

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