I was trying to think of a good mindless escape from post-election analysis and the inevitable elation or depression you feel, depending on which horse you had money riding on. Even if you’re one of those who are happy with the result, you still have to listen to all the lamenting of any friends and family who aren’t, so you too will need a break at some point.
What we all could use here, I think, is one of those silly personality tests. You know the kind; you see them on Facebook fairly often: “which country are you?” “which flavor of ice cream are you?” “which breed of chicken are you?” “which South American dictator are you?” etc. When my daughter was younger, she loved to quiz family members about which Disney princess they were (I was no exception; I was usually “Belle”).
We’ve actually done this before (possibly four years ago in early November), when we tried to determine what kind of band leader you are.
What we’ll do this time is try to ascertain, as a bluegrass musician, which of four well-known breeds of dog you are, based on your answers to the following questions about common professional bluegrass life situations:
(1) On the way to a gig, your band vehicle has broken down, and you’re at least 60 miles from the nearest town. You . . .
[A] . . . quickly locate the phone number of the concert promoter, and text, email, and call him/her, begin laying out your neatly labeled mechanic’s tools in the precise order in which they’ll be used, and then start working to repair the problem yourself.
[B] . . . start working on your hair, and try to figure out what you’ll be wearing for the show, anticipating that you’ll be losing critical pre-show prep time at the other end.
[C] . . . view this situation as a possible threat to your bandleader, eventually taking it out on the vehicle by hitting it with a tire iron.
[D] . . . sleep through the whole thing, drooling slightly. Someone wakes you up 15 minutes before show time.
(2) A two-week tour of the west coast begins tomorrow, and your flight is today. You . . .
[A] . . . arrive at the airport three hours early, you have printed detailed itineraries and boarding passes for each band member. When the rest of the members arrive, you carry all their luggage over to the ticket counter, then round them up and make sure everyone goes through security together.
[B] . . . arrive with two large suitcases in addition to your instrument, plus a carry-on bag that’s just a little too large for the overhead. All the luggage is matching. You slept eight hours last night, and you’re impeccably dressed for the trip.
[C] . . . make your way to the gate, then while boarding the plane, you get involved in a confrontation with the flight attendant about carrying your instrument on. She won’t listen to reason; you bite her in the leg.
[D] . . . had forgotten there was a tour, but once you get to the airport, you good-naturedly find a bar at the other end of the airport, then carry brandy back to everyone in the band (in a small barrel).
(3) It’s sound check time. You . . .
[A] . . . arrive promptly, and when you see that the equipment isn’t fully set up, you run around the stage quickly assisting the sound people in finishing their job. You make sure the sound check comes off in a quick and orderly fashion, first checking each instrument in order corresponding to channel number on the sound board.
[B] . . . stay in the dressing room getting yourself prepared until everyone else has checked their microphones, and all that’s left is for you to do yours. Why should you have to waste your time standing around while the other do theirs?
[C] . . . become impatient with the sound engineer’s attitude toward your bandmates, at one point running back to the board to confront him face-to-face. You win.
[D] . . . are very good natured through the whole process, at one point, giving your vocal mic an approving sloppy lick. You feel a nap coming on.
(4) The show is over, and your main concern is . . .
[A] . . . how quickly you can get all your CDs and merchandise set up and properly displayed.
[B] . . . how quickly you can get to the merchandise table to sign autographs and be admired by fans.
[C] . . . making sure no unwanted strangers step up to the table to make trouble or threaten any of your bandmates. Some growling may be necessary.
[D] . . . getting some affection from your fans and possibly being fed by one of them.
If you answered mostly “A,” you’re a Border Collie. You’re a smart, energetic, and tireless worker. You can sometimes be organized to the point of annoying your bandmates, but no would ever want to lose your qualities as the knowledgeable “doer” of the organization.
If you answered mostly “B,” you’re a poodle. You’re well-aware of your importance and your attractiveness. Some other musicians may find you a prima donna at times, but let’s face it, you’re smart, talented, and you have great clothes and hair. They’ll learn to live with it.
If you answered mostly “C,” you’re a Pit Bull. You have great team spirit, you’re enthusiastic, and you’re really buff. You’re fiercely loyal to your bandmates, and wouldn’t harm them, but you can become quite aggressive in the face of perceived outside threats from others (like stubborn airline employees, festival promoters, stage managers, etc.).
If you answered mostly “D,” you’re a Saint Bernard. You’re big and loveable, and sometimes seem like you’re sleeping a lot, not really engaged in business, but you’re the one your bandmates would most like to have on the scene if one of them happens to be lost in a snowstorm or an airport.
If you answered a combination of three or four, you guessed it, you’re a mutt.