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Monday, March 13, 2006

Suitable for Framing

I've found a twenty dollar bill in my tip jar the last couple of weekends at Althea's, my dinner gig. I never saw it go in so I didn't know who to thank. Until Friday night. A very sweet little old lady who is always accompanied by her son. They always come to listen and eat and are complementary afterwards. Always tipping. But twenty bucks a night? I found out that she tips the wait staff big too so I guess she can afford it. I don't feel like I'm taking her social security money or anything. I'm really flattered that she likes my performance that much. This is the craziest business sometimes. You just never know how you're gonna go over with whom. It's really important to remember that. Especially if you are in a position where people judge your work. It's just a reality that some will love you and some will hate you. Some will be totally indifferent.

In my studio I keep three dollar bills of different denominations. I keep them as a reminder of the people who do appreciate me. I need them in case I have a really crappie night. The first one is a one dollar bill folded into a swan or some kind of bird. Hopefully it's not a turkey. It was the lone tip I received one night in a bar I auditioned in. I showed up there on an hour's notice after the bar tender assured me I was great and had the job. The manager, however, insisted on this instant audition. I hate auditions. The ceilings in this place were about 20 feet high. I thought I was gonna work the other room that is more conventional with no acoustic problems. I never got to sound check properly. I was either feeding back or I couldn't hear myself through the monitor. Those were my choices. It was a brutal night. The manager refused to take my calls after that. But one young couple listened for a while after I tamed the problem to end the feedback. I still couldn't hear myself. The young lady gave me a big smile when they left and she put the origami dollar in my jar. That saved my night, replacing an otherwise very bad memory for me.

Then there is a five dollar bill I keep from the manager of a start up cafe' who couldn't afford my usual fee. I had agreed to take less money depending on their crowd just to help get them started. She paid me a lot less money than I normally get but probably more than they could afford that night against their gross. On one of the bills, she wrote, "Enjoyed the Music!" So that's a fiver I can't spend but it's worth much more to me than five bucks. I also wound up getting steady paying work there which has been very satisfying.

Then there is my $10 bill signed by Cathy's Sister and Brother-in-law, Carol and Jack. It's the first money earned on my CD. I had given them a CD but they insisted on giving me a signed and framed ten spot. Extremely sweet. Especially in light of the fact that my immediate family has been very spare on any comments about my music. I've grown accustomed to that, though. That's just a family thing. But I don't imagine the Osmans tell each other they suck. Mormons don't use that kind of language. I wonder what the Jackson's are saying to Michael these days? How would you react if you were the parent of somebody like, oh, I don't know, Marilyn Manson? Or some porn star?

So now I have several twenties from this nice little old lady. My plan is to hang one of them with a picture. I hope she'll let me take her picture. Friday night she wore an adorable straw cap. She said she was having a bad hair day. I told her it was a fortunate break 'cause the hat made her look so cool. One night a fourteen year old gave me a ten for singing a Dylan song. I wish I had thought to keep that one. Guess I'll have to write a song about it instead.

posted by Bud @ 5:42 AM

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