What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time


on September 20, 2014

day two of the WIST musical instrument shed-a-thon

When I was about ten years old and hungry to master the world, my father occasionally contributed to my growing skill-set from his store of arcane male knowledge. He asked one day if I or my friends ever played a comb. No … how? “Cut a piece of wax paper the same size as the comb. Hold the paper in front of the comb, press it against your lips, and hum.”

It worked! I took my newly-manufactured and mastered instrument to school the next day. It didn’t raise me to the pedestal of popularity I’d imagined, but for months afterward, every now and then, my friends and I would put paper and comb together and merrily buzz though a few tunes.

Later, when I was first shown a kazoo, I was unimpressed. “Why, that sounds no different than playing a comb.” A kazoo has some advantages, though. You don’t suspect you ought to wash it before you play it, or have to borrow your mother’s wax paper roll. Kazoos have more cachet than combs—they’re serious musical instruments, not little boys’ homemade toys.

Nevertheless, I’m going to shed mine. They aren’t much fun to play alone, and if I do, the cats take offense. They’re of the class of things best enjoyed en masse … which Leonard Bernstein knew. He scored for a chorus of kazoos in his Mass.


shedding style: give away
destination: thrift store

Kazoo pop quiz: into which end do you hum?


5 responses to “kazoos

  1. Mom says:

    This reminds me of The Kazoo Christmas Show we taped for Eric on year!
    I’m sure he really loved it!

  2. Mom says:

    They would enjoy it. We could do a recording at Thanksgiving – and give it to Eric for Christmas?
    He probably doesn’t have anything to play a cassette on now. Small detail…..

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