Monday, April 02, 2007

Is There An Octogenarian In The House?

As read on my fortune cookie consumed before Flying Dutchman's final performance:

Seek advice from an octogenarian.

What? What's an octogenarian? And why must I seek advice from one? Am I sick? Do I have only 6 months to live? Never in my childhood life until the present have I encountered such a fortune. Even when I was 11 and snuck an entire week's worth of fortune cookies from the local Chinese joint, opened every one, (ate half of them) and sorted through every slip of paper looking for the one telling me that Angel, my beautiful 6th grade classmate, was meant to be my guiding light, or at least my first kiss, there was Ne'er a fragment of fortune telling me to 'seek advice' from anyone.

I mean, singers are neurotic enough! Ya can't just let me snarf down a bucket of pork fried rice and tell me to seek advice from some octo-something-or-other and then "break a leg!"

What if I did break a leg? Then I'd have to seek advice from someone for sure.

I was about to enter an auditorium full of 3,000 people ready to watch German opera make it's triumphant return to the Portland stage. I was half tempted to ask...

"Is there an octogenarian in the house?"

Or at least ask if one would stand by just in case. But years of training and professionalism paid off. I made it through the show without breaking a leg. But I needed to find out what this octogenarian is and quick! I needed answers! So I did what any normal curious and concerned fortune recipient would do. Get the answer from!

oc·to·ge·nar·i·an (ŏk'tə-jə-nâr'ē-ən)

Being between 80 and 90 years of age.
A person between 80 and 90 years of age.

Huh? Can't seek advice from Grandma (may her soul rest in peace). Granpa is now 91. Who the heck could I turn to for this much needed advice?

The answer came in the most subtle yet obvious place. Palm Sunday Mass. The next morning while I performed my cantor duties I was approached by a parishoner. She was elderly, I'd say in her 80's. She told me she enjoyed the opera the previous night. But she had some advice. Oh, here it is! The fortune cookie was right!

I waited in great anticipation for the advice I had sought for so long. Well, at least sought for the last 12 hours. She leaned in, motioned for me to bring my ear closer. Obviously this was important advice that mustn't be overheard by just anyone. Then she said to me:

"I enjoyed the opera last night, and my husband goes every time whether he needs the sleep or not. But I think the opera would be more popular if it were more like football, with cheerleaders and a halftime show during intermission."

Amen, sister! I'll soon be holding auditions for the opera halftime cheer squad.

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Comments on "Is There An Octogenarian In The House?"


Anonymous Rachelle said ... (June 23, 2007 12:26 PM) : 

Too Funny! I thought there had to be an octogenarian in the house... what is the average age of opera goers?
This former classmate finds your blog pretty entertaining! ~R


Blogger Evil Baritone said ... (June 25, 2007 9:01 AM) : 

Thanks Rachelle! To tell you the truth, the average age is usually somewhere between 62 and "mostly dead". I've even seen a husband wheel in his dead wife's coffin into the opera house just because she loved opera so much. ;)


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