Thursday, January 24, 2008


Beatles' 'Octopus's garden' is not a song he hears regularly, but it is inextricably linked to his middle school spring show. They were always overblown affairs; another year when the zealously patriotic history teacher had been in charge, the show commenced with a parade of probably eighty American flags.

The year in question, though, the theme was Beatles, and they rehearsed for months to dutifully shout their way through a selection of the hits. The rest of the selections were obvious choices; 'Octopus's garden' must have been a favorite of one of the coordinating teachers. Even a bunch of fifth through eighth graders could sense that hallucinogenic drugs would have helped the performers and the audience get through that one.

He is always tickled by the memory of 'I want to hold your hand' which they staged - four boys mimicking with instruments and microphones, and all the girls screaming in the pit. It had been determined (quite fairly, he agrees) that the boys who played the Fab Four would be selected by popular vote. In their naive wisdom, his class elected the only black kid in the school to play George Harrison.