When Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Germany in 1770, I wonder how many people would have predicted he would grow up to be one of the most famous composers the world has known.
I wonder, too, how many people would have predicted that one day he would cause a kerfuffle in my house?
Not just a garden-variety kerfuffle either. I call it the mother of all kerfuffles.
This is not because it’s a particularly large-scale commotion. The United Nations, for instance, obviously does not feel the need to send in peacekeepeers. YET.
No, the reason I call it the mother of all kerfuffles is that my adversary is my wife, and the mother of our son Jack.
Katherine and I married late and, having been single for so long, we both brought to our matching sets of most things: two toasters, two kettles, two TV sets etc.
We also brought together two collections of CDs.
Noah, of Noah’s Ark fame, would be impressed that we had doubled up on a few of those too: two Eric Claptons, two Neil Youngs and, if I can just call a momentary truce I’d like to apologise on behalf of us both, two ZZ Tops.
My tastes cover rock and blues; Katherine’s collection extended to classical music too.
Classical is not really my cup of tea but I think it’s OK to at least have it on the shelf in case we ever are visited by pretentious prats who are impressed by that kind of thing. Besides, I know that Katherine can never play the lack-of-culture card on me because she knows I know where all the ZZ Tops are buried.
The trouble began when Katherine decided to put all our CDs in alphabetical order.
I had no problem with this but I must say I was surprised to find out that Eric Clapton had been filed under E not C and Neil Young had been filed under N instead of Young. Only artists such as Burt Bacharat and Duran Duran seemed to have found the right letter.
I took this up with Katherine, but she was emphatic that this was the best way.
“But some of these people have famous surnames,” I said. “What if I’m not on the first-name basis with them?”
Katherine was unmoved.
And I have to say, I’ve got used to it. I’m like that. I suffer in silence. I just accept my lot, put on the headphones and listen to Van. Or Joe. Or Carlos. Or Dave.
But something happened the other day that made the kerfuffle refuffle.
Katherine was playing a Beethoven CD and when it was finished she asked me to put it away on the shelf. Did I mention I’m obedient too?
All the classical CDs have their own shelf on our rack so, although I had never been there before, I knew exactly where to go: L for Ludwig van Beethoven, as per Katherine’s Huey, Deuey and Louie filing system.
Wrong. It turns out all the Beethoven CDs are filed under B for Beethoven.
“How does that work?” I asked. “It smacks of a rule for one and a rule for another. Elitism!”
When Beethoven was baptised in Bonn on December 17, 1770 he was given a first name: Ludwig.
If that was good enough for his mother, it should be good enough for Jack’s mother too. Eh?
©September 11, 2006, John Martin. All Rights Reserved
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