I thought I was doomed, but here's where I get really lucky...

My savior, Clyde Moore. He's ready to smack you on the back of the head, mister. He was close to 70 when this was taken, I dealt with him in his prime.

The schools in Redmond at that time, as I earlier posited, were not institutions of learning, but more like holding pens. Bad teachers, horrible administrators, all the ingredients that make American education the cultural cesspool it is in many cases. In Redmond, you couldn't get any TV channels except 3! No more rabbits that could talk! Shit! I was in a world of hurt until one day in the 5th grade when this really stern guy marched into the classroom, told the teacher to go stand in the hall, and announced that we were all going to take a musical aptitude test right now. All the local schmokels froze, ashen-faced. It was Mr. Moore, they whispered like General George Patton had just marched into the room or something.

General George Patton. Note the resemblance to Clyde Moore.

Mr. Moore wasn't mean, he just didn't screw around like all the psuedo-teachers I had to put up with. I was intrigued by this guy! He didn't scare me at all, I knew if I did what he said, this music thing could probably work out. I had respect for him because everyone, including the teachers and administrators, were scared shitless of him. That, to me, said he probably has a brain. Nice! Someone I can work with!

So, I actually tried on this test - I never tried at anything in those schools because who cares, anyway? I already knew how to read and write which made me the smartest guy in the room, including the teacher (remember, this is in 5th grade...). I scored 99% - the nearest kid in that gaggle of dumbshits comes in at a sterling 35%. The dorkwads all look at me like I'm from Mars! Clyde Moore says "Tell your Mom you're in band now. Tell her to come to the Junior High tomorrow night and bring her checkbook and you. And sit up straight!" Then he smacks me on the back of the head, marches into the hall, looks at the teacher, who is cowering, throws a list of students at her and declares "These kids are in band now. We meet during this class period. Find something else to do." Then he marched down the hall and slams the door on his way out.

Wow! This guy is right out of my TV-parent world! He's larger than life!. I was on my way to becoming a musician, much to my old man's dismay.

So the night came around, my Mom takes me to the Jr. High, where there is this big line of Moms and kids, no Dads. The kids are mostly bawling like they're going into the army, the Moms look sullen. My Mom asks another Mom is this the line for band? She looks my Mom up and down, takes the Marlboro from her lips and says "You're not from here." A mantra in my life, as you will see.

We get up to the table where Mr. Moore is sitting, ramrod straight, with a guy from the Eugene Music Company (the nearest music store, about 200 miles, over the cascade mountains to where the smart people live). "Anderson!" he says, with a semi-smile. "I've been waiting for you!" He actually smiles at my Mom. "How do you like Redmond so far?" he smirks. She didn't get it, but I started giggling. "Shut up!" he yells. "Trombone lips!" The music store guy whips out a student trombone, shoves it at my Mom and says "$22 a month", then makes her sign a contract. "Bring it to school tomorrow!" Mr. Moore shouts. My Mom picks it up. "No, he carries it!" Says Mr. Moore in a menacing voice. He glares at me and I pick it up. The handle is so cheesy it cuts right into my hand. I say "See you tomorrow, Mr. Moore!" and smile. He looks at me, and I think somehow he sensed this was the beginning of some kind of trouble for him.