By Bobbie Glasheen

Attending a recital at Idyllwild Arts, we entered Stephens Hall and found only one unoccupied seat. Gary offered it to me. And then he spotted a kettle drum pushed against the wall. It was draped in green vinyl and looked more like a round table than a musical instrument.

He hiked his tokus up and happily settled himself for the recital, never guessing that sitting on the kettle drum was strictly verboten. Some nervous adult scuttled over and said, “Sir, you cannot sit there. That is a kettle drum, not a chair.”

Gary was hurried off to the other side of the hall and seated on a chair, not a kettle drum.

I caught his eye and it was a moment of sheer delight. We rejoiced mutually in the pleasure of being naughty, of being careless, of daring to do the wrong thing.

Now, whenever we enter Stephens Hall, we invite each other to take a seat on the kettle drum. “Have a seat, Drum-Butt.” “Tap us out a beat, Rhythm Bottom.” At which point we choke with laughter. I step outside to

gain control, but it is useless.

  These frequent moments of snorting insanity could just be the remediating answer to unbearable tension and a syndrome called “failure to smile.” Lord save us from such a fate.