I saw a newsclip from Atlanta today about a man who was arrested outside a Braves game. His crime? Playing trombone.
Now I know several trombone players I’d like to arrest, but I wanted to haul them in for things like playing high A flat in first position, not for anything that’s an actual threat to society. Seriously, if you want to find the group of people least likely to commit a crime, it might be us trombone players. I’ve known some hothead trumpeters and crazy clarinetists, but all the trombone section ever wants to do is play a little too loud and entertain each other with puns and double entendres while we count rests.
Band people know that the stereotypes about different sections are true. What we should really ask in job interviews is, “What did you play in high school band?” Want attention to detail? Look for a clarinetist. Friendly face for customers? Flute. Hipness? Saxophone. Multitasker? Percussion. But if you want someone who will laugh at the absurdity of a rude customer instead of arguing, if you want someone who would never get arrested, find yourself a trombone player.
And this guy who got arrested was a true trombone player. Not only did he play well, but he had a hilariously low brass relaxed reaction to his first time in jail. He relayed this conversation.
“What you did?”
“I played trombone.”
Apparently what happened was the cops told him he couldn’t play on the street, and he said he could, and they said the problem was that he was asking for money, and he said he hadn’t said a word to anyone about money, and they said his trombone case being out was asking for money.
I ask you, was he supposed to leave his case thirty feet away? Put a sign on it that said, “Please No Money?” And I am willing to bet that within a hundred feet of this guy were a dozen scalpers and two drug dealers, but no, the worst criminal on the street is the guy who has practiced a fine art until he was good enough to take it on the road. Not that he shouldn’t have done what the cops said in the first place. I don’t think it was worth the fight. That’s another thing about us trombone players. I never said we were smart.