Saturday, January 23, 2010

Piano virtuoso

I was reading my memory of the Food Not Bombs lunch line and I realized that the people we were serving food to were as far from functional living (i.e. contributing to society) as you or I are from playing a Beethoven piano concerto at the San Francisco Symphony. Just look at it like that. Technically, in 10 years anyone can play the piano. But if you don't play a single note of piano that entire 10 years then you aren't going to be able to play the piano, let alone play it with the S.F. Symphony. What's my point? Well, technically, by 18 you should be able to contribute something to society. But if you manage to live 18 years without once contributing something to society (because you were stoned or hiding under a table or getting abused by your priest) then guess what? You haven't logged the hours to get a job. And then the State steps in around 18 and you are almost guaranteed to go to jail...where the record of preparing inmates to contribute to society is WORSE THAN THE MANSON FAMILY.

So, it's easy to say these fine folks choose their way of life...just as easy as I could sit you down at a piano in Davies Symphony Hall, strike up the band for Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (You must know that one) and expect you to hammer 50 minutes of music out. You can do that can't you? Right? I mean, what the fuck is wrong with you? ANYONE CAN DO IT! So if you can't do it then you must be choosing to be a failure. So pathetic. Disgusting. Filthy. Unsophisticated. Worthless. How can you make such a horrible choice? You must be mentally defective.

But the question is how to take a 22 year old junkie convict and get him to play a piano concerto because otherwise you've got a huge problem. Santa Cruz just magnified that problem because the density of unskilled homeless was like Calcutta. Anyone have any suggestions?

The problem is further complicated when you consider that there aren't even enough jobs to go around FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WANT AND ARE ABLE TO WORK. And there isn't enough money to train everyone. And in the end the folks we served had already learned basic survival skills, how to eat one day at a time. They didn't trust someone who offered them training. They already knew how to survive so any advice sounded suspicious. How many of you would start practicing the piano for 5-7 hours a day STARTING TOMORROW if a social service counselor told you it would improve your chances of getting a job in ten years?
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.