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Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Organ Trauma

July 15, 2009

organ trauma 1

The sound of organ music always takes my mind to a dark place, one
that consists of church, weddings, and horse shows. I went to catholic
school for twelve years, and in those twelve years was encouraged
(forced) to attend catholic mass twice a week. These masses had three main
elements: 1. The rituals: Standing, kneeling, singing, chanting,
giggling, and napping (the last two ritualistic behaviors being
ill-advised and somewhat unique to me). 2.The music: Specifically organ
music. 3. The creepy: Anytime one is instructed to “Take this body of
Christ and eat it” and “Take this blood of Christ and drink it.”, things get creepy.

Going to confession was another suggested (imposed relentlessly)
experience when attending a catholic school. This charming activity
involved going into a tiny booth with a strange man (a priest) and
confessing your sins, or in other words, telling him all the terrible
crap you did that you were not supposed to do and then be given a bizarre
‘prayer prescription’ so that you may be forgiven (say two Hail Marys, one
Our Father and try not to do that stuff again but if you do, see you
next week). During these confessions I would often think that my sin
material was a tad weak and skimpy. This would cause me to panic and
make up some sins to fill in the gaps of uncomfortable silence.
My disclosure would range from something of the benign variety like,
‘I told my mom I had brushed my teeth before bed, but actually had
not’ to ‘I killed a man in Reno just to watch him die.’

The other two aforementioned dark place memories, weddings and horse shows,
are equally if not more so triggered by the moans of an organ. The majority of the
weddings that I have attended have been catholic church weddings and therefore
quite organ-heavy. One notable exception was my own wedding which was on a beach in
Maui with only the photographer and the woman marrying us present.
She began the ceremony with a few traditional Polynesian phrases. Not
expecting this, and coupled with the fact that I have the maturity level of a
five year old; these phrases immediately lead my unfledged mind to Gambi from Pee Wee’s play house
circa 1990. All I heard was ‘Mekka lekka hi mekka hini ho’, and at that point I immediately went into an
uncontrollable laughing fit from which I never fully recovered. The best I could do to
regain composure was to open my eyes very wide and bite the inside of my cheek.

Horse shows, however, continue to carry the bulk of my organ music associations. When I
was seven years old my sister and I began taking horse-back riding lessons
and later started to show horses competitively. During these horse
shows an organ was always blaring out a tune, usually Surrey With The
Fringe On Top
or The Mexican Hat Dance, as we rode and the judges evaluated our
performance. I did not find the experience of showing horses to be
even remotely agreeable and started to develop a technique in order to
cope with my extreme aversion to competitive riding. I became quite proficient in the art of
the out of body experience. My mind would take leave of my body for
the duration of the show going to a ‘happy place’ while my body went
along for the ride. This system worked well and my body, sans mind, even placed
sometimes. There is a line from the movie Post Cards From The Edge that sums up my feelings on
the matter most effectively. The scene is between a doctor and
patient. The doctor says, “We are going to have to pump your stomach.”
to which the patient replies, “Do I need to be there for that?”

It has become apparent to me why I loathed showing horses for all of
those years. The basic reason is simply that I was always petrified.
Being filled with terror pretty much ensures that one will not be
successful at something, which was precisely the case with horse-back
riding… and marriage. It pleases me to no end to have the dark organ
times behind me. I shall share an appropriate tune, “I’m Good, I’m
Gone”, by Lykke Li, a Swedish singer with an electronic, indie rock
sound. Awesomeness.


11 Responses to “ Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Organ Trauma ”

  1. pancake on July 16, 2009 at 7:35 am


  2. anncine on July 16, 2009 at 9:19 am

    “It pleases to no end me” that you would say that, Panckake….Dammit. I am retarded.

  3. Sara on July 16, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Should we ever find ourselves unfortunate enough to be in Saginaw, MI, at the same time, I shall treat you to an organ performance at which we can both giggle at the player’s cork-like left peg leg. (Tee hee, peg leg.)

  4. anncine on July 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Arrrrgh….sounds terrifying. Count me in.

  5. Anon on July 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I am amazed at your clarity.
    This is a great choice in music.
    This swede is far better than ABBA!@)

  6. Skye on July 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I love that the more you fret over how horrible the writing goes, the more brilliant the end result. You’re workin, yes you’re workin to make the butta for your piece of bun.

  7. anne almirall on July 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I’ll butta your piece of bun…

  8. anncine on July 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks, Anon…glad you dig:)

  9. Skye on July 16, 2009 at 5:58 pm


  10. anncine on July 16, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Yes, you are penciled in for a bun buttering session tomorrow:)

  11. Sara on July 16, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Ooooo…Frothy goes se-xxxy!