A lesson in humiliation

Philippe raised his hand suddenly and all the musicians went quiet. He bluntly said the concert was in two days and he didn’t think the trombones should join.

Eve and I had been dancing and having a good time while the others were playing a song with no trombone part. OK. Maybe doing the limbo with our slides was taking it a bit far, but the atmosphere was so… joyous. Everyone had been singing, playing, and dancing wildly…except Philippe.

He had been watching us.

He went on to mentioned that we would be playing before a crowd and we could not behave like that on stage. And we didn’t play all that great either. His dissing my trombone skills, fine. But not knowing how to behave on stage? It made my ears burn. Eve lowered her 24 year old eyes. My 47 year old eyes burned with indination.

The room was silent. The others just stared. So when Philippe called out the next song, ignoring the tenion in the room, it was no surprise that the joyous spark was no longer there. ‘Shout….kick your heels up and shout.’ sang the lead almost in a monotone voice. The backup singers were no longer dancing. The stood there, with their arms by their sides … Leaning half-heartedly in to mumble…”shout….shout….shout.”

When I walked out that night, I was debating if I should go back. Good lord, I had told all my friends that I was playing my first concert… How could I even announce that I was … told not to come? I was even writing about this in a f***ing blog. Oh, the humiliation.

I debated telling my son. The entire week I tried to cajole him to come watch me play in my first concert, how would I tell him I was cut from the band? When I got home, I looked at him, and decided to tell him the truth and the real reason he didn’t have to go to a concert he didn’t want to go to in the first place.

Is this what it feels like for him to get cut from the first team and have to tell me? To come home to announce to me a bad report card? If you are lucky, as a parent, there are not many occasions where your kids have to witness your public humiliation. And being a parent, it makes you think twice on how you react… To set a good example. My pride and ego wanted to sell that horn online that same night and send Phillipe a scathing email.

But I knew my son would be watching my every move. And could throw sometime in the adolescent future “but YOU quit” right back at me.

So, I swallowed my pride. I wrote to Phillip to ask if we could come earlier to practice to … practice. And maybe see if we could play at the next concert.. in June.

The night of the concert, I took my son instead to watch the local soccer team play.

After a half hour of practice.

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