There was a newspaper story about two weeks ago that caught my attention. It was reported that a man in Fargo was accused of attacking a priest with a trumpet. It wasn’t the priest part of the story that grabbed me, it was the trumpet part.
I didn’t know you could use a musical instrument to commit an assault. Why would someone choose a trumpet? The imagination chases the options all around the band. Or all around an all-inclusive musical instrument store for that matter.
If, for example, somebody mildly irritated you, you might throw a harmonica at him – more to warn than to injure. Or, if the issue was a clash of personalities, a cymbal from the percussion section would say clash louder than any other instrument.
On the other hand, if the supposed offense required a blunt instrument, would anything other than a tuba deliver the message? But can you imagine striking somebody with a tuba – much less throwing one?
As an old trombone player, I recognize the long reach of a trombone slide. But the only time I ever punished somebody with my trombone was when I was trying to play it.
Don’t even think about a piano to hurt someone. Some folks might be insulted by a blow from an accordion or bagpipe, but a kindly priest would probably forgive you.
The idea of hurting somebody with a musical instrument seems uncivilized. A food fight sounds like a safer and more fun way to carry out a grudge. If you want to hurt somebody’s feelings more than you want to cause physical pain, how about dumping a crock of mac and cheese on him? Or a big bowl of mashed potatoes?
Even more fun is a situation where you have a big football bet. This year, the University of North Dakota will play North Dakota State University in football. How about the presidents of those two universities arranging a bet where the president of the winning school gets to deliver a pie in the face of the loser. Pumpkin, custard or meringue pie would be a lot more fun than the usual payoffs like a bushel of corn or a turkey.
A couple of centuries ago, men fought duels with dueling pistols. In July 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr had been insulted by remarks made by former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and challenged him to a duel. They lined up back to back and paced 20 or more steps apart then turned and shot. Burr hit Hamilton and he died the next day.
Compared to hitting a guy with a trumpet or a pie in the face, shooting him in a duel is about as savage as a murder can be without sneaking up and stabbing a guy in the back. It was politics with gloves off.
As bad as it is now, it could even get worse. As long as people disagree to the point of wanting to hurt the other guy, and as long as we have the right to musical instruments or mushy pies, men will seek to inflict punishment.
But musical instruments are for harmony, not disharmony and mac, cheese, mashed potatoes and mushy pie are for eating together in fellowship. We never have too many musical instruments or food. We just have too many disagreements, grudges, hate and guns designed to kill people.
Think harmony and peace.