MY best friend is taking up the piano accordion.
My ex-best friend. No one can have a best friend who plays piano accordion. It would be like having a mate who was a homicidal maniac. People would start avoiding you, as well as him, because… well, it might be bad for their health.
In fact there are lot of similarities between a piano accordionist and a homicidal maniac. They don’t for instance, come with fangs and green foam at the mouth. They look like ordinary people.
It’s only after the newspaper headlines have appeared, shouting “Twelve dead!” that neighbours are quoted as saying: “He was so unassuming and polite. I’d never have guessed he played the piano accordion.”
It remains one of the world’s great mysteries: why anyone, anywhere, ever would want to play the piano accordion. It’s inconceivable that, having decided you are prepared to be that antisocial, you would also tell anyone. Even your best friend!
If he’d told me he was gay I could have dealt with it. I have no problem with other people’s sexuality, and what they do in the privacy of their own home is of no concern to me.
But you can’t play a piano accordion in the privacy of your own home. You can’t even play it in the privacy of your own street!
If you played on Magnetic Island you’d be keeping people awake in Thuringowa!
How does it happen? I can understand someone thinking: “Maybe I’ll take up a musical instrument…”
But in the name of all that is good and noble in the world, how can the next thought be: “I’ll buy a piano accordion.”
It’s not even cheap! And it barely scrapes in under the heading of musical instruments. I’ve seen various models identified in encyclopaedias about armed warfare.
Perhaps I have touched a nerve. Perhaps you have relatives — perhaps close relatives — who play the piano accordion (though it’s a mystery to me how any relative who played the piano accordion could be close).
It makes no difference. Have pity! Make them stop! Perhaps they could try line dancing instead. It’s cheaper, better exercise, less weight, and not so noisy, even if it does look almost as silly.
You may think this is sour grapes, because I can’t play a piano accordion myself. The same kind of sour grapes spat by people who can’t abide bubble gum, simply because they never learned to blow it themselves.
Not true. I don’t want to play the piano accordion because I love my fellow man. And yes, I admit it, because I want them to love me.
Or at least, to humour me enough to allow me to live. I don’t want to be afraid to turn the key in the car ignition, or to open the door when someone knocks.
I don’t want to be laid to rest in an unmarked grave on unhallowed ground.
I have thought of euthanasia. Not for me — for my ex-best friend. But I still have some feelings for him (I haven’t heard him play it yet) and I wouldn’t want to condemn him forever to a miserable death wandering the grey path of purgatory, twixt heaven and hell, with a piano accordion round his neck.
Surely, I hear you ask, if he played the piano accordion, he’d go straight to hell?
Are you crazy?
The reason we have them here is because they wouldn’t allow them in there in the first place!