If I Weren’t the One in Charge

“Planning a Christmas show sounds like fun. I don’t see how that can be called WORK!” 

That’s what my dental hygienist said to me as I tried to get comfortable in the dentist chair. Are the words comfortable and dentist chair compatible?  It was time to finish up my crown but I wasn’t feeling very royal. After all, in a few moments, they’d be shooting my gums with novocaine and I’d be laying flat on my back with dental tools forced into my mouth. Plus, because of COVID, they would be framing my face with a plastic trampoline-like gizmo for protection from all the flying stuff. Man oh man. Where does it end?


I don’t know about your dentist office, but where I go they always ask what I’ll be doing the rest of the day. I suppose it provides distraction. I usually say something about practicing the piano or planning a Christmas show. But since no one ever seems to know what to say in response to that, especially when it’s January or July, I decided to say something generic. “I’ll be heading in to work,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.


The young, new hygienist wasn’t buying the generic answer. She wanted to know what I actually DO at my work. It was only July, but I was in the thick of planning my December Portraits of White concert. So I gave in and told her that’s what I’d be doing. Which led to her comment….”Planning a Christmas show sounds like fun. I don’t see how that can be called WORK!” 


I smiled and went along with her. Because, truth be told, it IS delightful to dream up a big show and make it happen….in theory. When I started to explain the process; budget spreadsheets, venue details, ticket prices, sponsorship letters, hiring musicians, designing postcards, posters, website updates, creating music arrangements, etc. she became quite engaged and expressed genuine interest in the show. “My mother and sister would love it,” she said. I put on my marketing hat and encouraged her to definitely make it a girls’ night out.


I’ve heard it before: “It must be so much fun to plan a Christmas show.” I try to respond with a resounding “YES, it IS!” 


I should go back to the office, stop in for a quick hello and give her a postcard, now that I have something to show for my work. 

Portraits of White 2021 postcard front
Portraits of White 2021 postcard back

So the question I intend to answer from a fan this week is an interesting contrast to the perception that it’s fun. It shows that this fan understands that there are mountains to climb, streams to ford and rainbows to follow when you’re “living the dream.” 

The question was, “What do you like least about Portraits of White?” It really is a funny question. You’d think that when you’re living the dream you wouldn’t have anything to dislike about it. 


In a nutshell, I’ve had to learn to wear many hats. I remember when a publicist once said to me, “You have to think like a marketer and take off your artist hat.” They were right.

As a songwriter, it seemed most appropriate to change the lyrics of the song “If I Only Had a Brain” in the Wizard of Oz to “If I Weren’t the One in Charge” to answer this question honestly. So I put on my songwriting hat.

I’d be tanning in Orlando
playing jazz piano
A self-discovered star
I’m sure I’d be famous
and delivered from insaneness
If I weren’t the one in charge

Perhaps I’d make more money
Now wouldn’t that be yummy
I’d need a bodyguard
I’d probably own an island
I’d be rich like Barbara Streisand
If I weren’t the one in charge

Oh I could close the shop at five
Or spend the day at my chateau
I could figure out a way to make it snow
Then show up late for my own show

Oh I wouldn’t have to juggleOh I wouldn’t have to juggle
The Portraits of White puzzle
Or practice the guitar
I’d sleep through the morning

But my life would be SO boring
If I weren’t the one in charge

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