“You know how to work one of those, don’t you young man?”
The kid couldn’t have been older than six, and he had a streak of curiosity a mile long.
“What’s that? Why is it hanging from that hook? Does it make music? I bet my Dad could play it.”
He moved on from the harmonicas and over to the table with thousands of guitar picks on it.
“Wow! I like that color. Does that go on your finger? Is it for scraping stuff? Why are there so many of them? Grandma, I need one of these for my guitar at home. Buy me one.”
Then it caught his eye. The jar of kazoos. The table covered with picks was forgotten in a second.
“I can play that. Can I have one? Please Grandma, please! I’ll put the guitar pick back. Please!”
Grandma knew a good deal when she found one. The kazoo cost less than the expensive pick the lad had selected. As an added bonus, she was sure that the boy’s mother and father would be driven crazy when she sent the kid home with the noise maker.
“Okay. But, the pick goes back.”
The boy quickly complied, returning immediately to the kazoo jar. A green kazoo was selected forthwith and he held it in his hand gingerly, considering his next step.
Knowing that the logical thing which would happen next would be for the boy to place the little plastic instrument to his lips and blow as hard as he could, I attempted to assist with a little education.
“You know how to play a kazoo, do you?” I was pretty sure he didn’t.
He was pretty sure he did.
“Sure. You put it in your mouth and blow. The music comes out the end.”
If you ever had a kazoo, you might know how disappointing that plan could have been for the boy. I’ve had to dispose of any number of kazoos (before they ever left the shop) after that path of action was ventured upon. The air pressure produced by blowing into the little plastic toy can perforate the little plastic disk which vibrates to produce the kazoo’s signature tone. Humming is the only thing which produces the desired result. The only thing.
“Oh, don’t do it that way.” I was quick in my response. “Try humming instead. You know how to hum, don’t you?”
Seeing the question mark in his eyes, I hummed a little children’s song aloud for him. When I stopped, the look in his eyes was no longer one of curiosity, but of sympathy. Obviously, the clueless adult in front of him was in the first stages of dementia. He couldn’t even remember the words to the song!
“When I do that song, it has words.”
I explained that humming was really singing without the words and that he only needed to close his lips around the end of the kazoo and hum loudly to activate the vibrating resonator.
With that explanation from me, the little boy was finished.
He would not perform today.
The outgoing, loquacious kid fell almost completely silent, looking at the floor and shoving the bright green kazoo into the pocket of his jeans.
“I’ll do it when I get home.”
No amount of wheedling on my part would convince him. His grandmother almost begged him. He remained adamant.
“When I get home.”
I never heard a single note from the little instrument. Not a note.
Overcome with embarrassment, he waited quietly by the door for his grandma to complete the transaction she had come to make.
I feel robbed. I wanted to enjoy his discovery of the music that was already inside of him. I love watching the kid’s eyes light up as they realize what they are capable of.
Robbed. By a six-year old.
What good is a kazoo stuck in a pocket?
What are we hiding that could bring joy to people around us?
Why would we not take it out and accept the offer of expertise from someone who can help us to use it?
The Teacher suggested that the residents of a city built on the side of a hill are wasting their time if they are trying to hide the light of the city. He also wondered what would be the good of hiding a lantern under a basket.
Kazoos are made to be raucous and joyous.
I’m thinking it’s time we empty our pockets.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house…”
(Matthew 5:14,15 ~ NASB)
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”
(Leo Buscaglia ~ American author/motivational speaker ~ 1924-1998)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.