Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, April 22, 2005

"It's My Horn"

The lead French horn player [Jason] in the Bayfield Winds is very good; I play second horn in the group, and it is a real thrill to play along side him.

At our last rehearsal, every time there was a break, Jason would take a huge gulp or two of Coke. This is something we were always taught was a serious no-no when I was growing up. The sugar from the Coke gets inside the horn and gunks it up to the point that eventually the horn has to be sent off for chemical cleaning.

So after about the third or fourth time Jason took a swig of Coke, I asked him about it. His response was to shrug and say in a what-the-hell tone of voice:

It's my horn...
It's a response he developed in high school when he was using his own horn instead of a rental horn. The high school band director would yell at him for drinking Coke and gunking up one of the school's French horns; he'd respond,
It's my horn.

I just love the economics of property rights.

Later, I started thinking some more about the alleged problems of drinking Coke and playing a brass instrument. You know all that stuff that brass players eject from their instruments through mis-named "spit valves"? It isn't spit. It is almost entirely condensation, with practically no spit in it at all. In fact, very little spit gets into a horn -- so little, that some manufacturers now refer to those little valves as "water valves".

And that means that very little sugar or whatever gets into the horn if you drink Coke and then play the horn.

btw, the Bayfield Winds are a very good band - it is quite a treat to play with them.

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