By Brian Law
His wife had been very introspective for the last half hour or so. And she was never introspective, so he was curious as he approached her as she sat on the sofa reading a catalog.
“What’s up?” he asked, trying to be nonchalant.
She looked up as if surprised and asked him to sit down for a minute. She had something she wanted to go over with him, she said. Getting more curious by the second, he quickly sat down, smiled and wise-cracked, “Okay, I’m sitting down.”
She took a deep breath, closed the catalog and announced, “I think it’s time for Danny to do something that would bring him out of his shell. Something that would allow him to express his innermost emotions and feelings, but without him having to relate with other people.”
Danny was their son who was having trouble moving on from adolescence. He had no friends, interrelated with no one other than his parents, and even then he was extremely reticent. They had considered therapy, but Danny had flat-out refused to participate and instead shut himself up in his room with his video games and his earphones. When he did come out, he never made eye contact or spoke in words of more than one syllable.
“Okay,” her husband said getting serious, “Just what do you have in mind?”
She smiled and handed him the catalog. “I want Danny to take up the cello!”
He didn’t say anything, but instead took the catalog and thumbed through it. As he did, she continued, “Look, it’s not like a drum set or an electric guitar. That would drive us and the neighbors crazy. Instead, he could still stay in his room and learn how to play the cello by taking lessons over the Internet and we’d hardly hear him at all. It’s all in the catalog!”
“But will it help him come out of his shell? That’s the whole point, right? Will it do the job?” he asked earnestly.
She turned to face him and pointed to the catalog again. “It’s all in there, testimonials from students and therapists and parents. It works! I think we should give it a try. Please, just have an open mind and read the catalog and let me know what you think, okay?”
Holding the catalog in his hands, he turned his head and looked up the stairs towards Danny’s bedroom and its closed door. Then, turning back to his wife, he nodded and said, “If you think this will work, let’s start the process. Call the 800 number and arrange for a representative to come to the house for a consultation. In in! And I will read this catalog!”
She reached out and they hugged, and for the first time in years they both felt upbeat about the possibilities for their boy. “Oh, and the best part is that I got Danny one of these catalogs the other day and asked him to look it over and see if there was anything in it he’d like for his birthday, and later he actually asked me a question about it! Can you believe it, he read it! I think we’re onto something big here!”
He got up and said that he thought that this special occasion warranted a toast of some kind. He went to the liquor cabinet, took out two glasses, and poured out two servings of sherry.
She stood up, took her glass in hand, and proudly proposed the toast, “To our son, Danny, the future cello student, on his fifty-sixth birthday! Happy birthday, Danny!”