Pet Peeves

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An Elongated No Thanks

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

I was invited to participate in the upcoming performance art entitled “An Elongated Now.” The event is an inspiration of artist Lita Albuquerque and is being sponsored by the Laguna Art Museum. Well, I actually didn’t receive an invitation. It was a shout out to any able body person who can wear white after Labor Day and stand on the beach holding a LED light. With a little training, I thought I could build up to it. But being a fashionista, I’m not sure I can participate in this post Labor Day fashion debauchery. However, I would reconsider if I would be permitted to wear a dickie, spats and carry a railroad lantern. The museum said they would get back to me. I haven’t moved from my landline. The last one left in America.

So far, there’s been no word from the museum. I’m surprised because I know they are short on participants. I don’t have overblown expectations to be at the head of the line or at the end of the line. I realize I’m not a standout. I learned my place in the marching band in high school. I didn’t like marching and I didn’t like music. But I did like the extra curricular activity it gave me for my college transcript.

In band boot camp, I was assigned to a seasoned marcher, who was going to show me the ropes. His nickname was Frenchy. He said, “Let me see your trumpet.” I showed him my trumpet. He wacked it with his trumpet and put a dent in it. I felt bad. My dad was still making payments on it from fourth grade. “Hey, why did you do that?” He hit it again. “Hey stop that.” He added a third dent. I decided to shut up until my dad’s payments were finished. It was a grueling experience, because I had to play, march and save my trumpet at every pass on the field. Frenchy delighted in hunting me down and would even break formation just to add another dent. I ducked and weaved my way to senior year. Then it happened. The bandleader singled me out and said play that music bar again. I played it. He asked, “What instrument are you playing?” “Trumpet sir.” He tapped his baton upside his head and said, “Sure sounds like a piccolo.” I was reassigned to the wind instrument section and bid au revoir to Frenchy.

Marching band was my last attempt at performance art. I think enough time has past now that I’d be willing to try it again. So long as there’s no music, marching, or Frenchy, I might like the thrill to create a work of art with others. The museum staff would want to know that I have great experience. I’ve stood in line at the DMV, bank, and grocery store. I can provide references that will attest that I’ve never cut in line and always knew my place. Presently, I’m studying seagull formations and the way they face the sun to try to capture their perfect stillness. I should be ready for the event scheduled for Nov. 8.

Finally my landline rings. I get the call back from the museum. The staff gently informs me in an elongated roundabout way, “No thank you Mr. Crantz. It has come to our attention from our largest patron, Frenchy, that you really have no true interest, but need the extra curricular event for your senior citizen home’s transcript. Shame on you, au revoir Mr. Crantz.”

Don’t feel bad for me readers. I’m now planning my own performance art event. The date and time will be announced just as soon as I can teach seagulls to hold little bitty LED penlights.


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.



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