December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011


A recent episode of FOX’s “New Girl” revealed that the main character, Jess, leads a handbell choir in her spare time. I wasn’t paying strict attention, so I have no idea who the kids were. I believe Jess is a teacher, though, so maybe they were students at her school or whatnot.

Anyway, I was pleased as punch to see someone putting handbells on TV. As someone who grew up at very musical schools (I was the person who played “only” two instruments), I’m still surprised when I meet people who can’t read music or carry a tune. When you’re in the bubble, you tend to forget that normal people grow up learning things like social skills and video gaming.

But handbells—and their high-tech counterparts, hand chimes—hold a special place in my heart. One of the first things I remember asking Santa for was a hand chime. I didn’t know exactly how to describe it, so I just drew a picture which aspired yet failed to look like this:

I had just been exposed to them at church, and I was FASCINATED. Which is odd, since chimes are a social instrument. You need a slew of people doing two chimes each, or a slightly-smaller slew doing four. But the lowest ones are really huge and can require two hands, so…yeah. You need a bunch of people.

And I hate people.

But when you’re in a chime choir, you don’t have to interact with the other players at all. I believe this is the key to my social success. Not having to be social.

You won’t be surprised that I didn’t get a set of chimes. Or even one lone chime. (Which, again, looking back, makes no sense. You don’t ask for a single crayon. You don’t ask for a single lego. You ask for the whole set. It must be that I knew they were expensive, and even as a child, I was cheap.) But I continued to play them when I could get my hands on them. Mostly in church and school settings. And I rocked. You'll notice from the video below that everything is regimented, from grabbing the chimes to lifting the chimes to playing the chimes.

Man, I loved it.

In case you’ve never heard, here's what they sound like:

I hope you appreciate how many sucky videos I had to sift through to find that one. There are a lot of mediocre chime choirs out there. Thank goodness for the Asians.

[This is probably a good time to discuss the point at which I started to suspect Santa wasn’t real. I was about 6. It was St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6), which is a big deal in Milwaukee and apparently nowhere else. One day, as I went down for a nap, I decided that if Santa were real, there would be a full-size Snickers bar in the stocking hung above my bed when I woke up. There wasn’t, and I realized that Santa either didn’t exist outright, or wouldn’t cater to my whims. Either way, I knew he wasn’t worth the bother.]

[I have always viewed candy bars as the most decadent food in existence. I have no problem with doughnuts, ice cream, or any other food. But hand me a full-size candy bar and I will hesitate to indulge.]

[I have issues.]

1 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke:

You would like my church. We have handbells on a regular basis but especially for special occasions. This video has some fun handbell stuff: