Mandolins & Light Sabers

Yeah, those two items aren’t normally expected to be grouped together in a sentence, let alone a blog title, however you should know by now that if it’s going to be done, I’m the one to do it.


Over the last two days, I’ve learned that I don’t get out enough.  Certainly I go to work.  I also hit the gym on a regular basis in order to stay updated on my podcasts. Otherwise, any effort I put out to leave the domain for an extended period of time becomes an event instead of commonplace behavior.


By going out this last weekend, I’ve come up with no less than three topics in which to weave more verbal brilliance for an otherwise dull Internet.  I would imagine there’s a few more brewing if I actually think about it.


This weekend, I managed to liberate my living room of the homunculus appliances which were strategically placed to block my full view of the 42″ TV from my desk chair where I plop my rump for writin’ and stuff.  As you know, that 42″ tends to offer up the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  Having the corner of it obstructed over the last month was a little challenging to my OCD.


Junior has gone off to college, and it was necessary to drive him out there in order to set up digs and a satellite branch of the TharpSter organization as a whole (or hole, take your pick).


So on Saturday morning, we negotiated ourselves onto campus and made our way to the dorm will Junior will be holed up for the next few years.  Naturally, we had to navigate through loads and loads of other kids and their parents trying to get moved in as well.  A majority of them were donned in colors favored by the institute of higher learning which Junior will be attending.


And so, Junior and I went to the main desk where he could check in and get the screwdriver to make entry into his room.  I was wearing a t-shirt featuring a mustang along with my TharpSter hat.  Junior was wearing a solid colored t-shirt with no pictures or logos.  The t-shirt was burnt orange, which just happens to be consistent with those sported by the University of Texas.


“What color is that you’re wearing?!?!” demanded the attendant at the check-in desk.


Uuuummm, yeah.  Junior isn’t attending UT.  He didn’t really put a lot of thought into his wardrobe when he got up earlier that morning.  Had he done so, he would have been wearing green like everyone else.


Naturally, that wasn’t the most exciting part of the day.


Thus the blog title.


One of the first rooms we passed on our way back and forth between the truck and Junior’s room featured an exciting young individual who was standing just in his door way.  He had a shirt on which led me to believe he was a residential assistant.  He was also sporting a beard which was either being grown in favor of Locks of Love, or an attempt to pay homage to ZZ Top.  His stereo was up and running, playing what I assumed to be bluegrass.


Tangential note:  If bluegrass is a form a music that relies primarily on acoustics for it’s sound and shuns the electronics, doesn’t it seem a little strange that bluegrass is available to experience via electronic means?


Anyway, this particular individual had a mandolin with a capo on it, and he was playing along with the music emanating from his room.  He was playing quite well, I might add, even though he was using a capo.


“Are you a mandolin major?”  I asked.


“No sir, I’m actually a history major.”


Junior and I proceeded to haul his flotsam and jetsam into his room.  On the fourth or fifth trip, I noticed something else about the gentlemen playing tunes for all of the passer’s by.  He was armed.


“Good Lord man, is that a light saber on your belt?”  I asked.


He stopped playing his mandolin while the stereo in the background continued.  “Well yes,” he chuckled, “but it doesn’t work.”  He then pulled the weapon off the belt and tried to activate it for me.  There was no *snap* and *hiss* sound which you typically hear when a light saber is activated.  There was no ray of light designed to liberate my right arm from my torso either.


“Well then,”  I commented, “I’m guessing it must have had a blue blade at one time, because those ones have the lowest success rate.”


The young man chuckled, returned the weapon to his belt, and  pulled his mandolin back up into place.  “Yeah, I guess so.”


You know, there’s a fine line between sane and insane.  If you’re going to stand around and play a mandolin in a highly travelled hallway, that’s fine.  It breaks up the monotony. If you’re in the state of Texas and choose to openly carry a light saber while playing your mandolin, it had better be in operating order.


Just sayin’.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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