63-year-old Mary Hvizda, who has been drumming since the age of 15, crushes a drum-solo at Coalition Drum Shop in Lacrosse, WI.
Update: In the comments, Ben_Winton asks, "So, why is this so amusing whenever you look at folks like the Rolling Stones' drummer, who is probably way older than this person, and still doing a fantastic job?"
I think you're mistaken "amusing" for amazing.
The Stones' drummer has been famous as a drummer all his life. When we see him perform what is, really, a feat of physical dexterity and stamina as well as musical virtuosity, we superimpose upon him the image of all those young men and incrementally older men we've seen him as over the years.
Human perception is only sensitive to differences, not absolutes. Gradual change does not strike us as remarkable, even if, gradually and over time, great change is effected.
On the other hand, due to the sheer physicality of drumming, the majority of drummers we've seen in our days are young. At 42, I struggle with physical tasks that were easier when I was 18. This process will not reverse itself.
Projected on our minds' cave-walls, then, when we picture a "typical" drummer, is a young person. When this amazing woman walks into frame, she is vastly different from that picture. Our sensitivity to relative differences is triggered by that wide gap, causing a moment of delightful surprise.
A person who has grown old without losing the stamina and dexterity necessary to accomplish the virtuoso sprint represented by a drum solo isn't a figure of fun, she is a figure of inspiration. She is a reminder to all of us that artistic talent and physical ability can be decoupled, but that artists who are lucky and who are diligent and who are clever can find ways around the insults of age to accomplish feats that shame youth.
As Ciardi wrote: "The old crow is getting slow/the young crow is not... The only thing the young crow does not know/Is where to go."
My UK publisher, Head of Zeus, has published the official tour schedule for the British tour for Walkaway, with stops in Oxford (with Tim Harford), London (with Laurie Penny), Liverpool (with Chris Pak), Birmingham, and the Hay Literary Festival (with Dr Adam Rutherford). Hope to see you there!
My publicist just found an extra box of the cool promotional Walkaway multitools, and she’s generously offered to give them to the next 100 people to reserve tickets to the May 7th Walkaway event at Chicago’s Royal George Theater, where I’m presenting with CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY creator Max Temkin (current ticket-holders, don’t worry, you get […]
Carol from Cheapass Games writes, “In our continuing quest to bring back the very best classic Cheapass Games, we’re creating a new boxed set of Button Men, our strategy dice combat game. This time around, the characters will appear on cards, rather than pin-back buttons, but since they’re all 1950s era gangsters, the ‘button men’ […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]