Story #22 for Story A Day Challenge May 2016
The Edith Bunker Band
“So what are you going to do after you graduate?” Blech. Carol hated that question. People had been asking her some version of it forever, since she was, like, five.
“What do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?” Really? She was only five years old. Her professional options were limited to characters in cartoons and on cereal boxes. She didn’t know what work was.
If she only had a dollar for each time someone asked her that silly question. Once she started college, they changed it to “What are you going to do after you graduate?” It’s still the same stupid question, from the same stupid people.
Carol refrained from rolling her eyes. “I’m going to start a band.”
“Oh,” they would say, “I didn’t know you were a musician.”
“I’m not. Can’t play any instrument.” She baited them.
“So you sing?”
“Nope. Totally tone deaf. Can’t carry a tune to save my life.”
Carol waited until they paused, unsure of what to ask her next. “But I’m not going to let that stop me. I’ll find a couple of other people who are just as bad at playing their instruments as I am at singing. A guitar player and maybe a keyboardist. We’ll call ourselves The Edith Bunker Band. We will be terrible, me singing off key, the other two out of rhythm and fat fingered. We’ll play some oldies as well as current hits, mangling them as best we can. And having fun. Because having fun is what it’s about, right?”
Uncomfortable with her responses, people started to shift their weight from foot to foot, clearing their throats, looking around for some other young person to corner with their silly questions in hopes of not getting a silly answer in return.
She didn’t let them off so easy. “We’ll play in the early time slot. We won’t keep you up late. Promise you’ll come here us play?” It was only after she extorted a promise of attendance that she let her would-be captors escape.
For the umpteenth time, Carol wondered why so many people kept asking her that one question about the rest of her life and really expecting her to have a definitive answer. In a moment of insight, she thought maybe it was because they were still trying to answer it for themselves.
With thanks and apologies to Jean Stapleton who played Edith Bunker on All In The Family.