The always accurate Wikipedia gives three definitions of the word “irony,” two of which are:
• “… the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect,” such as “the always accurate Wikipedia.”
• “ … a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.”
Readers can decide whether the following list of things that happened to me, or are about to happen to me, is “often amusing as a result,” or if they’re even irony instead of coincidence (“a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection”), two concepts many people get confused, even those of us from the ironic decade of the 1980s. (We are the people, for better or worse, who gave David Letterman his late-night TV start, on NBC in February 1982. Letterman’s last show is on CBS May 20.)
Thursday: Just as rain and ominous looking clouds started rolling in, the sirens went off. Not for a tornado warning, but for a fire alarm, in the building next to The Journal. Given what happened June 16, a little jumpiness when the sirens go off in Platteville when the skies look possibly threatening is probably to be expected.
Friday: The morning featured letter number three this week. The afternoon included a tractor–trailer/truck crash on U.S. 151. The semi driver’s last name was Cummins, which for those of you who don’t know is the brand name of an engine manufacturer for Dodge pickups and larger trucks. (It would have been better if the driver’s first name was Pete, short for Peterbilt, or Ken, short for Kenworth. Or maybe Cat, short for Caterpillar, one of Cummins’ competitors.)
Saturday: The Platteville High School band played its second selection in the Southwest Music Conference Large Group Festival (photos of which can be seen in SouthWest this week). It occurred to me that I had heard it before. Then it occurred to me that I had played it before — Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F for Military Band, which I played in the Madison La Follette High School Wind Ensemble in 1982. PHS played the second through fourth movements; I think we played the first through third movements, though we may have played all four; I don’t remember playing the fourth movement, which includes what most people think of as an Irish jig.
When I posted this observation on Facebook, I got back two responses from fellow LHS Wind Ensemble players. One asked if they played “Spooky,” an ’80s high school pep band favorite on the radio in the ’60s by Classics IV and the ’70s by the Atlanta Rhythm Section. The other asked if they played “Smoke on the Water,” which is amusing to imagine a high school non-pep band playing. (Note to PHS band director Nancy Fairchild …) The same wit asked if I corrected my son the trumpet player when he played three-fourths of Holst’s suite. (The answer is no, because I never heard my son the trumpet player practicing Holst, and truth be told I was to trumpet playing what the words “additional depth” are to sports coaches. I was there, but far from a star.)
I did not hear the Richland Center High School band play Ralph Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite, which I played the same year in high school. I played it on my father’s trumpet, purchased from his band director. That would be the director of the Richland Center High School band. (Aside: The members of the trumpet section of that band formed southwest Wisconsin’s first rock and roll band, Vilas Craig and the Vicounts. Said purchaser of what would become my trumpet — I still have it, several layers of rusting replating later — was the Vicounts’ first piano player.)
Later, we visited our niece, who had given birth one day earlier to our latest great-niece. We posted photos holding the new girl on Facebook. That prompted a college classmate to ask if she was our new baby. Given the my oncoming birthday, that is, dare I say, spooky to contemplate.
Today: The Grant County law enforcement memorial ceremony is in Lancaster today. I had forgotten this from when I covered the death of Grant County Deputy Sheriff Tom Reuter in 1990, but one of Greg Coulthard’s public defenders was Dale Pasell, from the state public defender’s La Crosse office. A quarter of a century later, Timmy Lansing Johnson Jr. was charged with felonies in La Crosse County at the end of the events of June 12–13 that ended in the death of Merle Forbes of Platteville. The judge who heard Johnson’s La Crosse County charges was La Crosse County Circuit Judge Dale Pasell.
Next, fans from On Direction: Readers know The Journal is on Facebook and Twitter. The latter sends us emails when we have new followers, including Thursday, when we received word of our being followed by the Katy Perry Fan Club — “We love who?! Kay Perry!!!” Is it ironic, or sloppy, or a sign of poor education that the Katy Perry Fan Club can’t spell the first name of their object of fandom?