Marginalia, no.210

Waltz, nymph, for quick jigs vex Bud.

~ Stephen J. Gould, Bully for Brontosaurus

A pangram is a full tour of the alphabet in a single sentence – a comprehensive play of the keyboard. One year, when I was a boy, we inherited my great-grandmother’s upright piano. It had been painted a creamy color to match its own yellowed ivory key tops (two of which were missing), and my mother spent weeks in the garage with a can of paint stripper uncovering the mahogany beneath. I would sneak out after dinner to admire it: a tall magical box with gummy, peeling flesh, sweating fumes. I was obsessed with the idea of trying to press every key at once. Bizarre contortions of arms, legs, hands, feet and neck, were necessary to bring it off. The summoned thunder – the total tonal expression of the instrument – was never music, but it strangely satisfied.

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