In one of my favorite Far Side cartoons, reprinted here, Gary Larson’s caption reads: “Knowing how it could change the lives of canines everywhere, the dog scientists struggled diligently to understand the Doorknob Principle.” Many probably know this cartoon already and don’t need to look. This cartoon is much in my mind: I’m still wrestling with Jessica (sorry; I mean figuring out the piano solo from “Jessica,” so it’s fun and all but not what you’re thinking) and now I’m not alone. A research scientist in chemistry from Virginia is in on it, and we’re scrutinizing the transcription of the solo done by Elmo Peeler, who is obviously the Real Thing in terms of lineage. Our correspondence consists of things like “I play a lot more notes here” and “on the fifth eighth note of the fourth bar of line 13, there’s a double-stop E above the B.” The musical world, I am sure, hangs upon our every decision.
Again: us as dogs with floppy ears chewing over something obsessing them, getting paw-prints all over everything, but…success continues to elude. Somewhere, Chuck Leavell his own self must be asking, “What’s wrong with you people!?”