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The Essay
Show #84
The Musical Heimlich Maneuver
David Gunn
The question arises, not infrequently, what is the musical equivalent of a Heimlich maneuver? When, how, and to whom or to what is it applied? Is any training involved? Are deleterious side effects possible? Could it, for instance, harm a heckelphone? Would I ever want to do it to a member of the percussion family? Could I? When is it especially inappropriate to apply? Why is it almost never done in the Southern Hemisphere?

Letís take this important query -- and, regardless of the preceding nine question marks, it still is a single query -- one at a time, beginning with the one implied, but not asked: What is this person talking about!? Thatís easy. This person -- Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, not born on this date in 1920 -- was a cellist before turning to the creepy netherworld of quantum surgical mechanics. In fact, he was the finest cellist of his day, a day much like this one, though purported to be a weekday. Heimlichís love of his instrument applied most notably to the manner in which he held it. As he played, he caressed it, embraced and cuddled the body, fondled the fingerboard, massaged Tabu into the frets and back, gently groomed the bowhairs, carefully removing fleas and dog dander, essentially treated it like a member of his family to whom he might happily lend the car keys. One day -- again, probably a weekday -- Heimlich was guiding his cello through a wild and woolly rendition of "Where Sheep May Safely Graze," when the neck suddenly flew off of the instrument and hit the conductor in the mouth, who involuntarily swallowed and got the darn thing lodged in his trachea. He staggered backwards, choking, but continued to beat time. With adrenaline supplanting his basic urge to keep playing, Heimlich jumped onto the podium, grabbed the conductor, and attempted to yank the cello neck from the conductorís mouth. The second violin security section, seeing only a testy cellist attacking authority, arose as one and tackled Heimlich and, in the process, the conductor, too. In the ensuing mayhem, Heimlich grabbed the conductorís belly for purchase, accidentally squeezed, the offending instrumental part came flying out with a wet pop, and the rest is apocrypha. Alas, the cello neck was masticated beyond repair, and Heimlich soon thereafter switched to a career of medicinal tomfoolery. But back to the original question, which is "How could a Heimlich harm a heckelphone?" The answer is: with pleasure, or, avec le flambeau oriange.

To help our listening audient better understand the more abstruse portions of todayís program -- i.e. the 84th episode of Kalvos & Damianís New Music Bazaar, this portion of which is about to lead seamlessly into the next -- and also to wheedle some badly needed financial assistance from federal adjudicators, the show is being simulcast in Ebonics, or, to hep duh lisnin foke to beddah unnerstan da mo nasty show bits be do an gimme fundin da feds, we be doin da Ebonics simulcastatinly, my good man!

The music of our guest today, assuming we have one, has been officially approved by the Oakland California School Board for use in Ebonical musical revues. Our own reviewer, who even now is attempting to translate the limericks of Sylvia Good Times Platt -- pluperfectly singular distant cousin of Robert H.P. -- into that languageís communicable cousin, the Ebola virus, answers to the softening butterchurn-like cries of Kalvos.