Several members of our group have inquired about how music is chosen for the final segment of our Wednesday sessions. Up until this time, this matter has been kept under wraps, but a full disclosure decision has been adopted by the Board in order to combat any distrust and lack of confidence in this decision-making process.
The Ping Pong Parkinson Musicology Committee (PPPMC) is composed of 5 members appointed for life (like the Supreme Court) by the PPP Board. They meet on a monthly basis at a secret location, at which time they select all the songs to be sung by PPP for the following month (for all of our national and international affiliates).
All five members, with one exception, have notable musical resumes, are highly esteemed and are preeminent in their respective fields of music. Though we maintain their anonymity, suffice to say that two committee members begin their names with “Sir,” and two others are well known to the public relating to their musical achievements (TV and concerts). The fifth …. the fifth got his regrettable appointment due to nepotism, as he had befriended the PPP founder and president (NB), and begged him for the position on the Committee. (He bolstered his chances at getting selected, by consenting to donate some empty soup cans to be used for drumming, which amounted to a shameless, bold-faced bribe.)
Since the vote count for approving a song selection has been consistently four to one, it was of interest to probe the dissenting voter’s credentials and to examine and investigate his purported musical expertise – especially since this person (henceforth ‘the Briber’ or “LD”) seemed to favor Lawrence Welk (his ‘Champgne Music Makers) and elevator music (musak) from Montovani. We are deeply indebted to the Briber’s family (his much older siblings) for providing us with information heretofore hidden from the public. The following is what we discovered relating to his so-called musical background:
In February 1954, the Briber’s parents gave him a clarinet and hired a musician for weekly lessons. In May of that year, the music teacher was abruptly fired and the clarinet was suddenly yanked out of LD’s mouth in the middle of his rendition of Frere Jacques by his own mother. She was screaming at the top of her lungs at the time, while holding her hands to her ears. She kept repeating that she couldn’t take it anymore, that her migraines had grown too intense. Surprisingly, LD took this convulsive act in stride. He seemed much relieved at the prospect of not having to ‘practice’ any longer, and saw the termination of his musical career as an opportunity to play more stickball… although he insisted his embouchure was getting real good, and that he’d been well on his way to becoming the next Benny Goodman.
The family also granted us the privilege of examining other files, photographs and printed materials. We learned that LD had subsequently attempted to learn how to play the piano on three separate occasions, but after 3 days on the first attempt, 1 day on the second, and 5 minutes on the third effort, he gave it all up. He reportedly said he aspired to play Chopin’s Polonaise, but came up precipitously short with Comin’ Round The Mountain … and playing that one with only one hand. The baby grand was sold shortly afterward, and LD was ‘fostered out’, according to the elder sister, to make absolutely, 100% sure that there wouldn’t be a fourth attempt at Chopin. (Note: no adoptive parents were willing to take LD, so he was summarily deposited at the Old Faithful campsite in Yellowstone National Park, where a pair of tenderhearted coyotes took the feral child and nurtured him for several years until his SAT scores were respectable.)
The question as to why LD, the Briber, was chosen in the first place to be a member of the venerable Musicology Committee, was finally put to NB, the President and founder of PPP. Very defensively he responded: Well, he gave us the soup cans and was threatening to dump a load of oak branches in front of the club that were supposed to be used as drumsticks and percussion instruments. At the time, we just couldn’t afford to hire a junk removal company, so LD consented to leave the sticks and debris on his own property if we placed him on the Committee. Of course, I regret it now, but the position is for life. The only way of getting him out of there, is if he selects one of his favorite bubblegum tunes from the late 60’s. If that happens, one of the other 4 members is likely to kill him.