Herbie Mann. Do you mind if I talk for a bit about mental furniture?
In case you haven't noticed, my wife and I are going to have a baby soon, and as we get closer and closer to that I day I find myself thinking more and more about mental furniture. I look around our apartment, and I see we have couches, televisions, shelves and rugs and pictures on the walls. All of that is furniture and it's in my space but none of it is in my head--none of it is mental furniture.
But soon we'll be bringing home a baby and when we do, we'll be furnishing his mind--we'll be putting in the things against which he'll be barking his mental shins for the rest of his life.
In my CD rack I have a CD called Herbie Mann at the Village Gate. It's one of my favorite CDs and I listen to it almost every day. It's jazz, and Herbie Mann plays the flute, but I don't think that's why I play it so often.
Not long ago, maybe a year ago, there was a car commercial which featured a piece from the Dave Brubeck Quartet, ``Take Five''. It's one of my favorite jazz pieces and I was reminded by this commercial that I wished to own a copy. I remembered that my dad had the album from which ``Take Five'' came, Time Out--on vinyl. He'd had it for years.
The next time I visited him I told him that I'd thought of something I'd like for Christmas: a copy of Time Out on CD.
``What about Herbie Mann?'' he asked me.
``What about him?'' I asked.
He rummaged through his record collection and found his copy of Time Out and then also pulled out his copy of Herbie Mann at the Village Gate. The cover looked familiar--I used to go through Dad's records all the time when I was a kid--but I had no idea what was on that record.
Smiling, my dad opened up his record player and put Herbie Mann on. Floodgates inside me opened--I knew this music. By heart. Completely. From somewhere deep in my head I remembered this music, all of it. It was like magic, a spell weaving around my head from the first strains of music through to the last. I couldn't remember the last time I'd heard it, but it might as well have been the day before.
``I used to play this all the time when you were little,'' Dad told me.
For Christmas that year, he gave me Herbie Mann at the Village Gate for the second time, this time on CD. The first time, he gave it to me and he put it in my head--as part of my mental furniture. And it's always been there and it always will be.