Tuesday, May 17, 2016


"Alex In California"
Thanks to Alex in California, who comments on this blog, for coming up with a solution to the problem of an unwanted side effect from sitting on a milk crate when I busk.
I have noticed an increase in the amount of skeezers who have either tried to skeeze those listening to me; or who have tried to bully me away from Lily's stoop, since I started sitting on the milk crate.
And, even though I had postulated that this was because of a hard-wired link in their brains which associated a milk crate with either a fellow skeezer (share with me whatever you've skeezed, and I'll do the same whenever I succeed in skeezing; 'cause you know it's a random numbers game; a lot of times it's just the first skeezer to get to them who gets the prize, before they go on to realize that there are just too many skeezers and they all can't be starving or the city would have set up a soup kitchen for them...) or someone who is new in town, was travelling light, and just grabbed a milk crate from somewhere and; most importantly; wouldn't know the unwritten mores and customs, and would fall prey to the skeeze whereby the guy just plops himself down next to the busker and starts begging over the music; and will continue to do so, especially if God forbid, people give him money; knowing that he is screwing up the musicians business and basically wanting the busker to say: "Hey, man if I give you 5 bucks, will you go do that somewhere else, 'cause I'm sure you noticed that I haven't made a dollar the whole time you've been sitting there; nothing personal, but I've been doing this for 9 years and I never make anything when I have a friend sitting next to me, I don't know why, but it's just that way..."
Out of which the skeezer would, of course, hear: "5 dollars."
If I were to do that then, within an hour, one of the skeezers apprentices would arrive and start badly re-enacting his routine; probably even asking for a dollar out loud when there is nobody within earshot; that badly...
Gonna run me around $20
I don't know what I would do had I not the blessings of Lilly, I probably would have been mingling more with the staff of Lafitt's Blacksmith Shop Tavern, especially the bouncers.
But, from Alex in California came this:

You could get a little folding stool or even one of those 3-legged camping stools, which would lift you out of skeezerdom because everyone knows skeezers abscond with milk crates for every purpose from sitting on, to using as a bike basket to I dunno, crib for their 11th born, who knows. But the fact that you could actually scrape together $12 or so for a folding stool or 3-legged camp stool would show you to be a cut above the common skeezer, a "real pro" and besides ... those milk crates give you waffle-butt.

Of course I don't know why I hadn't thought of it.
While the Pavlovian response to a milk crate is one thing; the sight of a stool like described above; and Alex could have added: "draped with Mardi Gras beads and festooned with New-Orleans-Culture-affirming buttons with its legs spray-painted purple and gold and with a green seat" causes quite an opposite reaction.
It would represent "the hand that feeds them." The skeezers know that they are surrounded by rich tourists and that it has something vaguely to do with something like that stool, and that's all they really have to know.
The stool would work.

It would work the same way that Lily, emerging from a dwelling and representing the property owners of NOLA; a lady in a dress; can run the same belligerent stubborn drunken skeezer off the stoop in under a minute who had been sitting there blocking my tip jar for almost an hour.
The skeezers know which side of their bread is buttered. You just don't get on the wrong side of the property owners; you act wild crazy and dangerously but never endanger a tourist; you don't tug on Superman's cape, nor spit into the wind; and you respect the above stool out of fear that the person sitting in it might have ties to the city; or just because your whole life, since coming to NOLA to skeeze, has been one glorious blur of green and gold and purple and drugs and alcohol falling out of the sky, and that is something that you don't want to mess up...

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Well, it should be a $20 well spent.

Besides, only the most desperate will tolerate the pain that is waffle-butt.

If I were a sitting down type player, I'd get one of those little stools myself. They're the best compromise between lightness and smallness, and something you can actually sit on. I suppose someone with a big wide butt might have trouble with one, but that's not a problem for the likes of us.

I generally stand when I play my trumpet, but who knows I may consider a stool like that myself.

Yes, now that sobriety and AA have got my mind clear and my life back on track, I've been getting out the horn again. Art is something I can do, but it's because while I wasn't forced to do it in the way that Paganini's father would lock him in his room and not feed him or let him out until he'd done X hours of practice, I was *expected* to become an artist. No wonder I went into techie stuff instead - which doesn't pay any better, but I can't go into an art gallery without feeling ill.

One thing you want to do is to try to be as neat and clean as possible. Get regular haircuts, wear clean clothes, you can even keep checking thrift stores where they always have that basket of glasses and might find some that work for you that look a bit sharper. Every little thing helps.