We played gigs, too, at the library, at street fairs. Imagine playing an Elizabethan ballad such as my favorite, a sad wail called “Willow Willow,” on the street with your two friends who happen to be older than your parents. You might look up from your music stand and notice one of your schoolmates staring on in horror. Andy Heap, for instance. But you know what? You don’t care. You might even smile at him. And this is the most important lesson of marching band, of public displays of recorder. To withstand embarrassment. Maybe even seek it out. To take nerdiness to its most dizzying “Willow Willow,” “Tico Tico” extremes, and stand before my peers with my head held high. To stick out my tongue at the Andy Heaps of the world, run back to the baritone horn of life, and blow mighty and proud.

from Take the Cannoli [Stories from the New World]

Got a girl crush on: Sarah Vowell

Here’s to you, Sarah Vowell. For playing the recorder and playing it proud. For being a member of the Bozeman Recorder Ensemble, which included a retired high school music teacher, two Montana State University math professors, a handful of housewives…and your 14-year-old self. For owning your dorkiness and throwing it back in the faces of your teenage adversaries. And for providing me endless chuckles.

P.S.: Did anyone else catch her cameo in Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give?