Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Performance Anxiety

In honor of the autumn season, here is another scan from Simon's school journal. It is infinitely more subtle than the last entry, in which one perceived a certain detachment between the text and the image -- mainly the failure of the text to address the most important aspect of the image, which scholars agree is the depiction of two ordinary girls with anatomically incorrect shoulders. One gets the sense the author was not aware of the detachment and though one never likes to speculate on the presence or absence of author intent, it is generally thought that there is no hidden depth to "I went to my Friend Lindsy's House on Sunday" aside from the fact that it is capitalized in such a way that it is suggestive of poetry. Therein lies the charm of the prose.

There is much more to "I went to my First piano Resitle yesterday", however. Not only do its capitalizations also suggest the poetic form, but the illustration acts as a gloss on the main text. The author, feigning obedient innocence, provides a sentence devoid of any possible interpretation: there was a piano recital and the author was present. The image, however, fills in a crucial gap in our knowledge of the event. The author did not only attend; the author performed. Evidence for this interpretation rests in the striking similarity between the drawing of the piano and these images of an anglerfish.



Please click on the image for a more detailed view of the piano's eyes, enormous nostrils, scary dangling light, and fins (artistically interpreted as pedals).

Certainly, nobody but the performer herself would look at a piano and see one of the world's most terrifying deep-sea monsters. It is because of this, the pathos inherent in a small child's encounter with certain death, that I move to change the commonly- used title for this piece from "I went to my First piano Resitle yesterday" to what the author appears to have meant: "I was Attacked by a Particularly primeval-looking Anglerfish yesterday and barely Survived; are you Seriously telling me I have to Dress for Gym?"

10 comments:

.Maeve said...

under my first piano teacher, i regularly battled the anglerfish. however, she required the girls to wear skirts, which i always thought was rather impractical when facing the giant toothy sea monster.

Simon said...

i hope you were wearing pantaloons beneath, for safety.

Ivan said...

and also for your safetly, I hope Simon didn't sew your pantaloons... that piano does look evil...

Simon said...

I beg your pardon. I gots pantaloon-sewing skillz, yo. It's pleated skirts I can barely handle.

Katie P. said...

You got skillz? That rox. Totally rockz.

Just.Megan. said...

sweet jesus, simon.

Matthew said...

There is no question in my mind that pianos and anglerfish originated near each other in the evolutionary pool. Tracing their respective family trees until they meet would probably reveal lots of other distant cousins we would've never otherwise known about. Simon, you've opened up a new door in the history of the world (part 3)!

Simon said...

May I use that as a praise quote for the jacket of my upcoming scholarly monograph?

Matthew said...

Yes, yes you may. So long as the scholarly monograph is actually about anglerfish and pianos, and not, say, about how the sewing of pantaloons should be an olympic event.

Simon said...

What are you trying to say?