If God is omnipotent, how’s come the Bible don’t read the same in both directions?

Answer: Maybe He didn’t have my mind in mind. In my daily walk with Moses and the Blood of the Golden Calf, I key-in my spiritual GPS way-points by  one thing and one alone; the message has gotta either rhyme, or even better yet, be, like LEVEL.Well, here, let me sing it to you-uns.

1967. I was leading a psychedelic band, playing covers and originals. Sky-Blue-Pink. I was proud of the name. If anybody still has one of our business cards I’ll pay dearly.
Anyway, hitch-hiking to Pittsburgh in the late-November frozen tundra on Rt 22, all the better to get an early copy of Magical Mystery Tour, I was picked up by a big trucker. Ok, a little guy in a big truck. Turned out he owned the company; a  hundred-or-so semi-trailers plying the Mid-Atlantic. And his daughter had been at one of our concerts and had raved about the light-show.
The ‘light-show’, if anyone’s interested, was two sheets of glass, vegetable oil, food-colouring, and a giant overhead-projector we ‘borrowed’ from the AV guy, with a silent promise not to ‘out’ him to the school administration.
At any rate, the trucking magnate was heavily financing the Altoona Symphony Orchestra; for tax write-off or whatever motive. And he asked me to do a light-show for an up-coming concert, somewhere between Everett and Holidaysburg. In the cab, that is. The concert was in State College, PA, and for $140, money in those days, I showed up ready, with my keyboardist’s sister as able assistant.
We’d done our homework together, charting out the moves for Ravel’s Bolero , pink and blue tension building bar by bar. Musical tension, that is.
And here’s where the story, the epiphany starts… or ends. All set up in the hall, I had only to quickly find a place to pee first, and then let the music begin. But before you could say: “Where’s a nice hippy find a bathroom around here?” my patron-trucker approached our station with a grim look upon his face.
“Kettle-drums? You can do kettle-drums?”
“Sure.” I told him. “Percussion’s a trip, man.”
“No, can you fill in? The fellow who’s supposed to play ’em flipped his car out on 522 and we’re on in ten minutes.” His look said ‘Help me Jesus!’ and I needed only to quickly reasure my girl-friday that she could handle the light-show, throw on a  uniform which felt like it was made of Kevlar, grab my mallets, and sorta feel comfortable with my place in the rear of the orchestra, there only inches from the back-drop curtain.
    Of course the first selection was Handel’s Water Music. Just what I needed! The score had me tacet
for a couple thousand measures, and no one saw me slide under the curtain, hope against hope that there was a back-stage bathroom. No luck. There wasn’t. Not a pot to piss in, so to speak. I re-emerged, to the visible relief of the conductor, but quite un-relieved in the final-urinalysis department. Figured I could hold it, even through Respighi’s ‘Fountains of Rome(!). What is this, a sick joke, God?
Somewhere in the beginning of the Bolero I admitted defeat. Slipping back under the curtain, I frantically tore off my bullet-proof suit-jacket, then my tee-shirt, and gracefully(?) pissed the shirt full and running over. Something told me it was preferable to a puddle on the floor. Tossing the shirt, I re-dressed and appeared as if by magic right on cue. Boom, Boom, Doom, Boom Bolero. Ole!  Hell, I can play tympani in my sleep. We got a nice ovation, Ravel was happy, Altoonians satisfied, my love-interest assistant proud of herself, and the conductor grateful and wielding a check. Happy ending, except for history’s first ‘wet-tee-shirt’ backstage. Somehow I couldn’t
finesse retrieving it. Probably lying there to this day.
It was God’s Will. Now I’m sure.
Only last night, did I realize the divine inspiration:
Dog works in mysterious ways, sometimes after-the-fact. And yeah, a true story. Otherwise they’d spell tympani different…


38 thoughts on “If God is omnipotent, how’s come the Bible don’t read the same in both directions?

  1. andyglasser

    most impressive.  I remember those long tacets, all for a single ding on a triangle, or something.  We used to throw peanut M&Ms up into the air (they were always being sold to raise money for the french club’s trip to paris, or quebec, I don’t remember which) and catch them in our mouths while we waited.  It was fun, and that must be the reason I stayed in Orchestra 8 (the top orchestra of my High School – the Fame school actually) rather than the Junior jazz band which met the same period, and was actually the whole reason I went there in the first place.  I never peed in high school, though, maybe once.  I generally held it until I got home.

  2. jsolberg

    @andyglasser – you, you get the feeling of inefficiency sometimes. As if the only challenge is counting down the clock till your Big Measure. Tchaikovsky’s the most respectful of us, in my book. ‘Everybody plays, most of the time.’Thanks for your thoughts, Andy

  3. twoberry

    I imagine that if the Altoona Symphony Orchestra didn’t appreciate that generous trucker BEFORE he introduced you to them, they sure as hell appreciate him now.

  4. jsolberg

    @twoberry – Thanks for the complex compliment, ha. It was the start of a cooperation which lasted a couple years, even after I left the state. Next story here is about the Russian ‘I’ll tune a violin-ist’ I met there. Something about the name of the place always sounded …musical.

  5. MelFamy

    re: the title question. If it were so, the Bible would be the world’s longest palindrome.I love the tympani in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, 2nd movement. I cannot steer when listening to that piece; I need both hands to conduct.I can understand, Joe Nathan, why you waited 40+ years to relate this tale. I have one or two like it, but don’t hold your breath; they’re going to the grave with me..

  6. chromepoet

    Nice story. Sky-blue-pink is, without doubt, my favorite hue. Tim’s panties; so much impact, so few notes, eh? Unfortunate about not reading in all four dimensions plus time. I thought everyone did. This explains so much. (calling to the dogs)

  7. Roadkill_Spatula

    Truth is stranger than fiction. Seems to me you could have found a tuba-case to widdle in, or maybe even a tuba. But a tee is a great option. Good thing you were wearing one. If this had been summer, you might have stolen the show by playing the end topless.

  8. miss_order

    That is quite a story! I think your solution was brilliant, if a little gross… Makes you glad to be male, though, in situations like that, doesn’t it! I don’t think a girl could pull that off.

  9. dirtbubble

    To think I could have been reading and comprehending a government licensing manual instead of reading this masterpiece. Thanks dog for procrastination, otherwise I wouldn’t have had this moment with you.

  10. jsolberg

    @miss_order – Actually you remind me that…that for all the time I spend with women I don’t know too much about the exit-plumbing, for want of a better word. How could I have gotten so far so blind?  I’ll just call it tactful averting of gaze.

  11. jsolberg

    @elgan – I’d always heard he stared at Mercury till his nose fell off ‘n then he, like, got daid. Turns out my dad just made that up to keep from having to mention Uranus….And if they’d programmed anything even more fluid I might have pissed in a luckless fluegelhorn.

  12. flatpick46

    Surprisingly, I can relate. My travels as a truck driver have oft placed me in the “no pee zone.” One must be creative at times, no? There are bushes that bear my mark.I’ve been on that 522 around state college before as well.


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