April 1, 2023
“What the. . . ?” I said to myself. All the cats and horses in the neighborhood had started to meow and neigh as soon as I began practicing the violin. And the more I practiced, the louder and more raucous the meowing and neighing became.
I have to admit, it freaked me out. So I called my favorite aunt, Aunty Histamine, for advice. She’s a cool veterinarian and very wise.
“Tell me, Arnie,” she asked. (For the record, my full name is actually Dr. Arnie Arnie.) “Are some of your fiddle’s strings made of what is commonly known as catgut, and is your bow equipped with horsehair?”
“Well, yes,” I had to admit.
“Aha. There’s your answer. The cats and horses no longer want their body parts used for your Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, or even your Tea for Two. Likewise, farm animals are demanding not to be turned into ham sandwiches or beef bourguignon.”
“But listen, Aunty, I’ve got an upcoming recital with pianist Waldemar Strumbleknauf, the most celebrated pianist of his country, Lower Upper Slobovia. What am I going to tell him?”
“That’s your problem, Arnie. You’re the doc. I’m only a vet.”
The next day, I nervously called up Waldy and told him about the situation.
“Hah,” said Waldemar, “dot explains avryting. I sit down on piano bench and soddenly it goes, “Moo.”
“Never mind, Waldy. We’ve got a completely unexpected and serious problem on our hands. The animals are coming for us meat-milk-cheese-and-egg eaters. Aunty Histamine heard a rumor that their rallying cry is a chilling “Meet ‘em, then eat ’em.”
“But,” and here Waldemar’s voice got a bit shaky, “vot about recital?”.
“Bad news, Waldy. I’m expecting every nearby animal to block our performance by pooping in front of the concert doors.”
“Poop on de stoop. Dot’s funny, yes?”
“No, Waldy. I’ll have to get rid of my gut violin strings and replace my bow horsehair with synthetic hair, and we’ll have to find someone to put leatherette on your piano bench.”
“You gotta realize, Arnie, I luff chizburgers. Actually, chizburger is beloved national dish of Slobovia, both Lower Upper and Upper Upper. Enemels know about my chizburgers?”
“They probably do, Waldy, and that’s why we have to adopt extreme measures. How about you and I go on a diet of fruits, veggies, nuts, and oatmeal — steel cut, of course — for a month, and only then advertise the concert? I can picture the announcement now:
If You Are What You Eat, Then You’ll Play What You Eat.
Tickets now on sale for the never heard before Vegan Violin and Piano recital by ‘The Vegan Vagabonds,’ Arnie Arnie and Waldemar Strumbleknauf.
“You forgot vun minor ting, Arnie. Enemels can’t read.”
“True, Waldy. But they sure can hear. With the very first notes of our recital, they’ll recognize that oh-so-veggie sound, and news will spread like wildfire through the animal community that we’ve given up beef for Bach.”
For the first time in our conversation, Waldemar smiled. “Hokey dokey. I give up chizburger, also chocolate malt, also extra scoop ice cream.”
And so, the two of us went on our new diet that could possibly be a harbinger for monumental changes in our music profession — think vegan Schubert song cycles, vegan string quartet concerts, and vegan members of an entire orchestra performing all the Beethoven symphonies without even coming near a cheeseburger.
A week before the recital, Waldemar called to ask how ticket sales were going.
“Only Mel Brooks bought tickets,” I had to tell Waldy. “People must think that this is just some kind of April Fools joke.”
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