Ben (The Author) is the conductor for the Boston Philharmonic orchestra. Roz is a family therapist. While I enjoy classical music I know I don’t appreciate it enough to have any kind of conversation with Ben about it and Roz... well sometimes I feel like its hard to talk with a therapist without them being a therapist.... so now you understand my initial back stepping from the book.
The key- The key for me came from a childhood memory when I was just 15. My friend’s father is a graduate from
His family would often watch movies together. To preface this let me say that I think we can all agree that for some reason in our youth the idiosyncrasies (hopefully I am using this word right) of our parents embarrassed us. For instance.... I felt like my dad loved telling terribly corny jokes, spoke loud, often tried to be the center of attention, and hocked loogies in the morning as he went to work. Don’t take that wrong... he has great qualities as well... it took me awhile to appreciate them.
Well, my friend’s father always paused movies to explain what was going on. I don’t know why but I always loved the ¨embarrassing¨ things my friends parents did... maybe it’s because it made me feel more ¨normal¨ So he would pause the movie... explain the plot... compare it to historical stories, explain the emotions the person might be feeling.... and sometimes even ask us what we thought was happening. Some of you might be annoyed just at the thought of a movie being paused 10-20 times (sometimes at very dramatic points) but I loved it! For me one of the negative sides of movies and television is the lack of human interaction... he found a way to overcome that and still enjoy the entertainment and I really liked that.... And like I said... I always felt like I was learning and being challenged.
Another example of him being a teacher was one day over a game of chess he taught me a lesson that has never left my mind.... and I know it is because of the way he taught me. Let me give you some back story to this.
I was raised in a home where ¨swear words¨ were never uttered. Sometimes I would swear by saying what I had heard other kids say and I was quickly chastened. My parents took it beyond swear words to not allow even course language... to the point where saying ¨this sucks¨ or calling someone a ¨butt head¨ could really get you in trouble. (This is not me complaining about my childhood..... :D I had a good one)
One day while walking home from Jr. High I decided it was ¨time for me to start swearing¨ and then I rationalized to my friend ¨who decided these words are bad? They are just words right? ¨ Wrong.... oh how addictive those words can be... am I right? :) I started swearing to the point that what I was saying made no sense at all... I was a terrible influence to my friends and got many of them to swear with me.... haha.... laughable to me now... but.... probably wasn’t that funny... ha...
Ok so onto ¨the lesson¨ from my friend’s father over a game of chess. We were just past the opening when he asked me ¨Oak... why do you use swear words? ¨¨ Boy did that catch me off guard! I really had no reason for him although I probably made one up. Then he told me ¨You know Oak, I really don’t like you using that kind of language around my son. It is offensive to me and I don’t want him to grow up to be someone who uses that kind of language.¨ ¨Why? They’re just words¨ and you know what? He took the time to answer my question of ¨Why? ¨ In a way that like I said... I have never forgotten. He told me that using that kind of language shows a lack of education. (And at that time I thought I was the smartest person in the world) ¨What do you mean?¨ He told me that often people use swear words in places they don’t belong because they don’t know what words actually go there to describe a feeling or experience. He gave me an example and replaced swear words with what I call his ¨Princeton words¨ and man was that impressive to me. Like I said... I am still guilty of letting some foul language leave my mouth... but I can rarely do it without thinking about that day... which gives me a desire to learn the right words to express myself properly.
So there is a brief overview of why this guy means so much to me… and as soon as I changed the voice of ¨Ben the conductor¨ to the voice of ¨Bryce the conductor¨ I have had a much easier time reading the book.... is that crazy???