The other day I was talking with Tynan as he and Mei An got themselves organized to go to Disneyland. They are in the school's marching band and both play clarinet. Well Tynan plays clarinet. Mei An mostly holds hers and when nobody's looking she will whisper Tynan's name in a raspy anxious tone until he looks around. Upon making eye contact, she sticks out her tongue at him. That's what she calls, "playing clarinet". Anyway they are at this very moment in southern CA, may God bless the chaperones, at Disneyland.
Disneyland is genius of course because when those 6th graders grow up and become parents they will all be bringing their kids to Disneyland too. They will say... "You know kids, I used to play in the Disneyland band, yup, marched right down Main Street and played for thousands of people..." It's like the perfect way to give kids a sampler - put them in the show.
So I said to Tynan, "it looks like you guys are going to be playing on Main Street"... He got all starry eyed. Like, waiting for the tooth fairy starry eyed, or, night before Christmas starry eyed. And said, "you know... there are going to be THOUSANDS (dragging the word out) of people watching us...." I know that Disneyland has between 65,000 and 100,000 patrons in the park each day. I knew the head of Disney security and sitting in his office in the backlot one day, I saw the counter. They get so much money that they weigh it instead of counting it. (true). So Tynan's right, there will be a lot of people there, someone correctly told him that there will be thousands of people there. But, he thinks the Disney's (someone akin to the Wizard of Oz with a big lever somewhere in the mechanistic bowels of the park), will pull the lever and stop all the rides when the Lyman Gilmore band comes marching down the street. He thinks they're going to BE the famous Disneyland electric parade!
In his 12 year old mind, he sees throngs of people throwing confetti and cheering as the band plays "Funky Town" flawlessly as if for the first time, a world premiere. They will want his autograph. The thousands of people will hold up lighters and cell phones until the band snaps to and plays the encore the throng demands... then eventually, the park will spin back up as the Wizard pushes the lever to "go" and the famous band will go on rides for the rest of the day, signing autographs for other visitors and getting their pictures taken with Goofy (because Goofy requests it).
So what occurred to me the other day as I was thinking about this was wars. Fighting and bickering over this and that. If the countries that declare war on each other would stop and think to themselves, "hey, if we try to get people to like us and invite them to come at an early age for free and be part of the parade, they'll want to come back and spend money and tell their friends that we're ok..."
Unfortunately, that's not how it is. More often than not, countries play the same game Mei An does. They try to get some attention and just as all eyes are on them, they stick out their tongues, (figuratively speaking). They do mean things to intimidate and swagger rather than use good marketing, kindness and smart demographically proven tactics to win the world over.
I don't know how Tynan will handle being home after all that stardom. There'll be no livin' with him. I'm envisioning the speech one day, that I doubt I'll be alive to hear... about how Tynan's famous band went big time in 2013.