By Larry Teren
Saturday night is a good night for a party when it’s January, there is snow on the ground (but not too much) and it’s too cold to go strolling outside. Besides, it’s no longer safe to just stroll around unless you know where you are heading and can spot the potential for evil to lurk.
It’s even better when the party is a big bash at a fancy hall with lots of food and family oriented entertainment. Top it off with the fact a well-heeled friend is footing the bill and someone else is driving you there and back. Don’t think that I’m happy not to be taking my car back and forth in order to save on gas or to be able to toss some liquor down my throat. I don’t drink and my car would never make the trip. In fact, the next morning- Sunday- as I go to pick up Ma to give her a chance to do a little shopping, my beater goes over a bump and off goes the pipe that on one end is connected to the muffler and the other end to a thingamajig. I drive the car 20 miles an hour with the emergency flashers on for a little over a mile with the pipe clinking against the road. Too many intelligent onlookers stare at me wanting to tell me that the pipe is scraping against the ground, as if I don’t know. Luckily, I make it to the car repair joint I usually visit, you know- the one whose owner lives in my condo building. Being the nice guy he is, he clears his agenda and replaces the pipe. When his henchman brings me the bill, he says, “you’re lucky. It’s small potatoes.” I look at the invoice and see that in his dictionary as well as at the produce store he shops, small potatoes cost over $250.00.
Anyway, the family entertainment at the party consisted of two activities. One was an area about 20 feet wide to 50 feet long that had been cordoned off as a fake skating rink. There was no ice, just some type of material that was laid down on the ground that had a smooth, slippery surface. Any kid or overgrown baby who felt like chancing it could put on ice skates and try to move as if they were actually gliding on real ice. No one was fooled but all those who participated used the two minutes of begrudging movement as an excuse to justify going back to the food distribution area and fed their faces.
The other pleasant surprise entertainment was a music group who imitated a famous rock band from the 1960’s. They did two sets singing over a dozen of their early popular songs in the first portion and then after a half hour break doing what seemed like another eight or so songs from their psychedelic phase. During the intermission, I went up to the lady in the white boots (which were obviously made for walking. What, you don’t know the reference? Never mind.) who had been working the sound board.
I told her it was amazing how well they imitated the rock group considering none of them were even born when the famous band had written and first played those songs. I wondered how they were able to get the sound and arrangements down so perfectly. She replied that they studied youtube videos as well as video clips on other sites. I said that it must have been expensive to be having to pay for the usage of those songs since the purpose of their act was to emulate rather than do original material. She sheepishly pointed out that they didn’t pay royalty fees and figured that the rock group wouldn’t mind since they didn’t charge a lot for their performances and were “small potatoes”.
I guess they are until they get caught. Then they will need to factor in royalty fees for any song they do and need to charge more for their performances. Then, whether they like it or not, they will become small potatoes in a bigger arena.
I noticed a trend recently at the fruit and vegetable store a couple blocks from my condo of which I visit once a week. Big Idaho potatoes usually go for 39 cents a pound. The smaller potatoes cost more. about double. Bigger is supposed to be better, but I’m beginning to think it is better to say it is relatively cheaper.