The Early Years: Jim’s Clarinet Sounds Like A Chicken

So last week, I posted an ancient report card progress report and mentioned that when I played the clarinet, our dog, Miss Marple (AKA “Missy”), would plant herself in front of me and howl. I further mentioned that it was too bad there was no video because it probably would have made us―or at least Missy―Internet stars. Well, there’s still no video, but since my dad knows where all his pictures are, there is, at least, photographic evidence:

Benny Goodman called. He said cut it out.

From Miss Marple’s back-weighted stance and tail position, she is clearly not impressed with my playing. Perhaps I’d have had better luck with a different animal audience.


Then again, maybe not.

According to my father, the picture of Miss Marple and me was taken in 1983, so it’s around the same age as the report card progress report from last week. Aside from such early 80s indicators as the gigantic collar on my pajamas and the interesting shade of orange-yellow on the sofa, the observant reader may spot a couple of items on the table to my left that also help to identify the era: A small LED race car driving game (with steering wheel and shifter!) and a small blue sound effects generator, which, I’m told, may still be in the basement at my parents’ house. Yes, back in those pre-pre-Game Boy, pre-pre-pre-pre-iPhone days, we all made do with single-use handheld games where everything from a race car to a baseball player to an attacking alien was rendered as a single red dot, accompanied by the sort of sound effects that are now only made by, say, a coffee maker that’s telling you it’s done brewing. And we were thankful that we didn’t have to amuse ourselves with mumblety-peg or pinfinger! Of course, some would say that I routinely play pinfinger without meaning to. (Looks at Band-Aid on finger.)

I hunted on Google but couldn’t find pictures of either the driving game or the sound effects generator, but I did find plenty of pictures of another LED game I remember well from back then: Mattel Baseball.

beep boop boop beep beep boop boop, beep boop boop boop boop beep

I played this one all the time. So clearly I actually was a jock, despite the title of my post from last week …

4 thoughts on “The Early Years: Jim’s Clarinet Sounds Like A Chicken

  1. I remember playing duck hunter as an adult, but nothing much before that. You clearly looked pleased at yourself for Missy’s aggravated response. 🙂 Thanks for a blast from the past.


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