I have known a few piano technicians in my day. One of my favorites was a particularly eccentric fellow I knew in Florida. Now, piano techs usually spend enormous amounts of time alone, so when you get them talking, it’s often hard to get them to stop. I particularly enjoyed this friend’s adventurous stories about run ins with the law and descriptions of how to stretch the upper and lower octaves in order to make them sound in tune. I haven’t seen this friend in years, and the last I heard he was having some more adventures with the law in Georgia. I hope he is still tuning pianos and causing trouble. Last night, my choir got me off on a tangent and reminded me of this encounter with my friend.

“Hey, Kurt! I’ve got a new system that helped me quit smoking. I think I’m going to try to market it.”

“Really?! What is it.”

“Well, first you need a Jewish-Buddhist. That may sound weird, but there are actually a lot of them in California. So, I have this Jewish-Buddhist friend, and she says, the first step is not to tell anyone that you are quitting. You just have to be ‘in the moment’ and do it.”

“OK. What’s next?”

“Well, my wife doesn’t let me smoke in the house, so I started keeping my smokes in the barbecue grill on the back porch. Then, a snake got into the barbecue grill, and I was too afraid to open it to get my cigarettes.”


“So, you see, all you need to quit smoking is a Jewish-Buddhist, a barbecue grill, and a snake. I think it’s a really marketable idea.”

“Hold on,” I said. “The whole system falls apart if you decide to chase the snake out of the grill.”

“I already thought of that. So, here is what I did. I gave the snake a name. He is Sam the snake. Now that he has a name, he is a pet, and I can’t chase him away because he is part of the family.”

“Your logic is irrefutable. Go for it!”