Friday, October 05, 2007

Archie, blow your horn

What do you do when your friend, one of your best friends, tells you a secret so deep and disturbing that even his parents don't know?

It happened when I was in 10th grade. I had gone to the high school football game one Friday night, with plans to go home and spend the night with my friend Archie afterward.

At halftime, I watched Archie march in the band. In his flamboyant bright red uniform and hat complete with festive plume, he seemed to almost be smiling at me. Maybe that should have been my first clue.

After the game, we were on our way over to the band room so that Archie could change. That's when it happened. Archie pulled me aside in the rahter dimly lit parking lot and said he had to tell me something. And he made me vow that I would never tell anyone, emphasizing it with the fact that even his parents didn't know.

My mind began to race. What could it be? How well did I know this guy? We'd really only been friends for a year or two. Not to mention, this was the same guy who had been involved in the John Stamos autograph incident.

I wasn't sure I felt comfortable with any soul-baring confessions at this stage of my life. But what could I do? He was standing there, his band hat under one arm and his heart on his sleeve.

So I promised not to tell, knowing whatever he was about to reveal could very well change our entire relationship forever.

And it did.

To this day, everytime I think of Archie, my mind immediately goes to what he told me that fateful October night:

He wasn't really playing his trombone.

The band director let him march because he had learned the steps so well, but made him promise he'd only pretend to play. Because as it turns out, after two years in band, Archie couldn't play a lick.

I wish I could say Archie's story had a happy ending. But it doesn't. He quit band the next year. I always wondered if the burden of carrying around his secret eventually became too much. Or perhaps someone outed him and he was ostracized by the brass and woodwind sections.

"That's not the beginning of the end. That's the return to yourself. The return to innocence..."


  1. Damn it Bone! You got me. I thought you were going to say something else completely.

  2. ROFL

    Seriously, I was expecting some deep, dark confession as well.

    I think there were a few kids in my high school who could have benefited from a deal like Archie had... :)

  3. OMG! You had me all excited and sitting on the edge of my seat! I just knew he was announcing his love for you!!!!!!!!!!

  4. LOL! you had me going there too...especially with the mention of you planning to spend the night. I am betting you had this all planned though.

    Is this a payback for my post? ;o)

  5. yeah I always felt that J&J burned too. This Suave stuff she has is better, but she really avoids her face.

  6. Only you Bone. Only you :)

    That was seriously hysterically sick

    Like I would expect you to bare somebodies deepest darkest secret :)

  7. Another gotcha victim here! You're a hoot!! Have an awesome weekend!

  8. HotPink: What did you think I was going to say, that he eventually learned to play trombone and earned first chair? Yeah, that would have been a happy ending.

    TC: I guess the only thing I wondered was did he never practice at home? And if not, did his parents never wonder why?

    Kerry: Haha. I don't do real well when people say, "We need to talk" or "There's something I've got to tell you." I get all nervous.

    Renee: Yes, I had it planned. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    I don't think I learned how to keep Shampoo out of my eyes until I was like 17.

    Pia: That was seriously hysterically sick

    That, I cannot deny :)

    Jennifer: Thanks. I figured it would be a fun Friday post. Hope you have a great weekend, as well.

  9. I think Archie wanted to secretly confess a deep dark, much more than platonic love for you but pulled back when he saw you were closing off. Ummhmm. I think so. :)

    This was too hilarious! It also hit a little close to home. One of my highschool best friends was in band and couldn't play a single note. I still can't figure out how she hid it from the band directors.

    Poor Archie. And poor Bone. I think you were both disenchanted that night.

  10. I had a friend who had a similar secret. And yes, they were ostracised by the woodwinds. But then, the woodwinds, being an ostracized sort, were really just in denial that they, were a bunch of people nobody wanted to be around.

    Ostracized by woodwinds! How harsh. Might as well throw cottonballs at him! What a maroon!

  11. OMG! Haha, Bone. Never fails, your ability to TRICK US!

    Great story.
    And I'm sure Archie made it thru life just fine. ;)

  12. Geez, is that it?!?! LOL! Strangely, my friends and I were just laughing hysterically about this very thing. See, I too was a band dork. I didn't have a plume, I'm sorry to say. But, I was lazy, I didn't care, I never learned my music. My director never knew I didn't know my music, no one else did, I don't think. I was faking it most of the time too. It got a little sticky during band competitions when the judges were standing right in front or beside me and nothing was coming out of my intstrument. I still think this is pretty funny. I know my parents wouldn't think so.

  13. Great build up Bone--and a great story--I laughed out lout. That would have also been the only way I'd been in the marching band, but then I'd had to be able to march in step...

  14. Hmmm... in my high school, in order to join band, you had to audition to prove that you could play the instrument and that you could march. And randomly during the year, the Band Teacher would test everyone on the music so there was no getting away with not knowing the music. And it's not as if we had the greatest band or anything.

  15. oh lordy, I'm fer sure late this time....
    'course, t'make up fer it, I made a "video" of the 3ww bit.
    That ain't the hard part, though. I used all the 3ww words I've done so far.....


  16. Avery Laine: Yes, I was disenchanted, disillusioined, disenfranchised... something.

    Sylvia: It is harsh, especially in those impressionable years. I'm sure many kids are sent into therapy thanks to woodwind ostracization.

    Blondie: Well, I don't know about that. I'm not sure he ever recovered from not getting John Stamos' autograph :)

    Carnealian: Wow. I never took you for a band dork ;-) So what instrument did you "play"?

    Sage: Thanks, Sage. I'm with you. I never understood how anyone could play the piano and sing at the same time. Seems like I'd get confused.

    Xinher: I think anyone could join band, and they'd teach you to play. Well, ideally anyway. Maybe the band director just needed another person to fill out the marching formation or something.

    Boneman: Wow. Well that'll be interesting.

  17. I have to agree with the others and expected a darker turn than not playing his horrible for him, he apparently wanted to be able to play alot since he kept at it for so long! :(

  18. I played the flute and piccolo. Go ahead, I'll wait till your done laughing.

  19. In case you don't remember THIS story, check out my Jan. 12, 2006 blog. I'm too lazy to do the HTML. Sorry.

  20. I bet Archie never speaks to you again. Poor guy...

  21. I had a really dirty comment to make, but I thought better of it.

  22. When you said he wasn't really playing the trombone, I thought you were going to say he was playing a different kind of instrument.

    Jeez, my mind is in the gutter...

  23. Your 3WW story was excellently disturbing, and this one was such a relief, heh. Good job!

  24. OK, so you sucked me in, too... but I know he really had something else to tell you... in fact, told you... and it was more than you could handle back then... so you just made this story up... because you were afraid of horns... or maybe, you truly remember it this way because you blocked out the truth.

  25. lol ONLY because it was you writing this did I figure out that you were playing your reader! *wink

    You are very funny!

  26. Tagster: I dunno. Maybe he felt pressure from his parents, or just didn't want to disappoint them.

    Carnealian: Wow, you don't hear of many piccolo players :) Can't wait to read this story of yours.

    Gay: Sure he will. As long as he or his parents don't read my blog.

    Scarlet Hip: I find that hard to believe.

    Ingrid. Haha. Actually, I was thinking "playing the trombone" could become some sort of cryptic euphemism for something.

    Actonbell: Thanks. I figured something a bit lighter might be good after that.

    Marcia: That's entirely possible, though highly unlikely, somewhat.

    Kate: Oh thanks. So I've developed a bit of a reputation, have I?