Freudian Slips: Life Stringing Us Along

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

January 13, 2009

Life Stringing Us Along

An actor forwarded me the following story; its message is worth repeating.
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.00 each.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing for sure, we're not going to miss that train to work; for at the end of the line awaits a paycheck.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

anonmyous,
Sweet music to me.

8:01 PM  
Blogger mommanator said...

he was just pickin and a grinnin!
URGH terrible of me

11:50 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

mommanator,
i see you haven't lost your sense of humor under the circumstances.
by the way, i was thinking of you when I wrote that short story about Banjamin Button...

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe,
It was commonplace environment (our ofice) at an inappropriate hour (late taking Jimi to Savage) and I almost passed by this blog when scanning emails. Glad I didnt.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Frankie Knuckles said...

Well shit, it's a train station where people are rushing to catch their train. Do it in front of a mall next time you mamaluke! Anyway, that's a pretty buon hourly pay. Maybe I should take up the violin. But, I don't want people to think I'm a maricon. Maybe I can wear a disguise or something. Hey Joey, don't you play the banjo still? Maybe we can work something out. Capisca?

Ciao,
Frankie Knuckles

10:50 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Frankie Knuckles,
You have been stringing people along on the set for years, what are you talking about? lol
Ah, but if it weren't for goodfellas like you, I wouldn't have wrote my first screenplay.

11:46 PM  

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