TRIVIA and JOKESThe Gig
Math for Musicians
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Each year thousands are people are killed, maimed or annoyed by trombones. The statistics of head, neck and even shoulder injuries sustained by reed players, French horn and string sections seated within reach of the deadly seventh position are truly shocking...not to mention forced early retirement due to ever-increasing hearing problems reported by classical musicians of all types who are forced to play the music of Wagner, Mahler and Brahms, as well as the hundreds of alumni of the Herman, Ferguson and Kenton
bands, and devotees of Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden, Abe Lincoln, Carl Fontana, Frank Rosolino and Charlie Vernon.
There is current legislation pending in Congress to restrict the sale of trombones and equip them with child-safety devices. The influential trombone lobby is, of course, opposed to this. There have even been several proposals for requiring a so-called "trigger lock" on all bass trombones! Every year there are reports of hundreds of innocent children, attracted by the shiny brass and smooth, seductive curves of an unattended instrument on a stand in the corner of a room or in an unlocked case who are traumatized for life by the attempts of a playmate
to get a sound out of it, or who may suffer a collapsed lung or the effects of hyperventilation by trying the same effort themselves. The owner's feeble "I didn't know the slide was unlocked" is no excuse! Trombones should be stored out of reach of children.
Efforts to enact a mandatory 10-day waiting period to purchase a trombone - which would simply allow a reasonable period of time for law enforcement officials to cross-check the purchaser's name against an
International list of registered trombone offenders and Slide-O-Mix addicts, have been repeatedly thwarted by the powerful Conn-Selmer-Yamaha (CSY) lobby. Law enforcement officials are particularly alarmed over the increase in crimes involving use of the"sawed-off" trombone or "sackbut." Legislation is also pending in
several progressive states, including New York and California, to make carrying a concealed alto trombone a Class A felony. Some Governors feel that there are sufficient laws already on the books that simply need stricter enforcement - such as the 1932 nationwide ban of screw-on bells, the indiscriminate use of Pond's Cold
Cream or KY Jelly and unsupervised emptying of waterkeys ("spit valves") on public property - a filthy, unsanitary habit which will help spread the flu this year.
One popular response to the spread of delinquent behavior is the imposition of mandatory longer sentences for those using a trombone while committing a crime ("Use a trombone - Go to jail"). Surveillance video tapes have proven especially effective in identifying violators of this statute because career criminals have often tried to
avoid convictions by having their lawyers insist that what eyewitnesses reported as a trombone was really only an AK-47 or other legal assault weapon. Strict enforcement has been especially effective when used in
conjunction with the new "Three sharps, you're out" statutes that have already been approved by many state legislatures.
Of course the automatic and semi-automatic valved models - both piston and the middle-European rotary - are much more dangerous than the traditional single valve trombone. Interpol has also reported the sudden appearance of rear-blasting Cavalry models that were thought to have been completely eliminated during the Great Confiscation mandated by the 1918 Treaty of Versailles, signed by representatives of every civilized country of the period. You may recall that those instruments were melted down and became an integral part of the Transatlantic Telephone Cable that helped to unite America and Europe. It is believed that the new sources of these WMDs are isolated factories in rural areas of China. The awesome destructive power of the double trigger bass trombone could never have been imagined by the founding fathers when they granted us the right to keep and bear arms.
Remember: When trombones are outlawed, only outlaws will play "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You."