Okay, so here's a story about a guy named Freddie. Just, like, you know, some guy. Certainly not to be confused with anybody you or I may know.
Now this guy Freddie is conceived during the Summer of Love, and so he is what some people may refer to as a Love Child with a vengeance. His father is at that time an only moderately good guitar jockey in a rock band that people do not remember much past about 1971, and maybe only half-way remember even that long. And his mother is one of those dolls that stand on stage and hopefully sways in a generally leftward direction when all the other dolls sway to the left and maybe sometimes will also sway to the right when all the other dolls are inclined that way, and sings ``Oooh,'' or ``Ahh,'' or ``Oh yeah,'' or ``Yeah baby'' whenever she thinks to remember her cue. But mostly what Freddie's momma is good at during Freddie's formative years is looking so delectable that any guy who gets a gander at her instantly wants to cover her with chocolate and a little whipped cream where the legs meet and start at the toes and work up. And so much do the guys like to look at Freddie's momma and have their mouths water, that nobody really cares so much whether she sings ``Ooh,'' when she ought to be singing ``Ahh,'' or ``Oh, baby,'' at the place where ``No, no, no'' belongs.
Now remember that this guy Freddie is just a guy, and definitely not to be confused with anybody that you or I may know. And when he is four years old he is every bit as cute as most buttons, even if nobody does much think about covering him in chocolate, except that he is pretty good at doing that all by himself, especially around the mouth and general facial area. But this little guy is so cute that people just wipe his face off with a moist towelette and put him right up there on stage with his momma, giving him a muffled tambourine to wave around.
But everybody knows that June becomes December, and hemlines go up or come down, depending on which direction there is still room to move in, and new presidents come into office even stranger than the ones before. And Freddie starts going to school. And fans aren't paying money any more to hear his poppa's old rock band. And the next band after that one only stays off the ground for about a year, and the one after that for only a couple months, and the fourth band never really gets past the talking stage. And then to boot the television news starts being full of stories about guys like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendricks and Jim Morrison checking out, and Freddie's momma and poppa are found walking around the house weeping copiously, because these guys doing the Big Check-Out are among their closest friends, even though they have never had what you can call a real conversation with them.
So Freddie's poppa gets a business suit and becomes a securities dealer who never quite gets indicted for insider trading, and his momma gets a job as a substitute teacher of the psychology persuasion, on a career track where she will eventually wind up as the headmistress of an exclusive girls school. And every year on his birthday Freddie has to promise that when he grows up he will never ever become a musician.
But nobody has told Freddie's momma and poppa that kids always break your heart. And so one day when Freddie is in his last year of junior high school, he is hanging around the house of a medium cute girl and what does she load up into the ghetto blaster but one of the better known symphonies by, like, you know, Beethoven. And this is like nothing that Freddie has ever heard before, even at those rock concerts that start at dusk and last until the fuzz start coming through with nightsticks.
And before you know it, Freddie is sneaking over to a friend's house every afternoon to practice how to play the piano. And this lasts until some dude whose girl friend Freddie has appropriated does the snitch to Freddie's momma, and that's the end of the piano caper. But it still doesn't keep Freddie from buying up every Beethoven tape that he can find the scratch for, especially the piano sonatas.
But every kid who has ever gone through adolescence has had an unsavory habit or two, and the school psychiatrist tells Freddie's momma and poppa that at least listening to Beethoven will not cause him to go blind or hair to grow on his palms.
So mostly Freddie's momma and poppa are pretty proud of him, especially when he graduates from high school as the class valedictorian, even if some people find it a little on the strange side that his commencement speech is a complete biography of Beethoven, which goes on for so long that the school principal finally has to intervene before Freddie has a chance to discuss the later string quartets.
But at this point the thought may be crossing your brain that these school principals are not always around when you need them, and you are hoping that maybe this is one of these stories where the hero dies young, because you are already hearing more than you care to know about this guy Freddie who, after all, is just a guy, absolutely not to be confused with anybody you or I may know. So I will skip right over Freddie's years at Yale, not even mentioning the violinist who jilts him in his second year at Law School, or how it comes about that staying in Law School is not an option that Yale makes available to him.
I will only mention that maybe that child psychiatrist was not so much on the ball as he should have been and maybe he should have taken the Beethoven stuff a little more seriously, because the day comes when Freddie is wandering around the environs of Germany and Austria, visiting with more than normal curiosity all the places where Beethoven used to live, and sometimes asking around whether there is anybody in these places who used to know Beethoven, which the Germans and Austrians find passing strange, because after more than a hundred years most guys are not survived by very many friends and relatives.
So after many months of not being able to find any of Beethoven's old friends, Freddie begins to be just a little on the discouraged side. And then the idea comes to him that the way he can really get as close to Beethoven as he wishes to is to dig up Beethoven's old bones. Now he does not go to the authorities to ask permission for this deed, because he is aware that the authorities will frown on this type of intimacy with the dead. But he figures that he is planning no real harm, since he will be putting the bones right back again. So one night at the dark of the moon he goes to the graveyard with a flashlight and shovel.
Now six feet of dirt is a lot more than many people seem to think, and it is many hours later when Freddie, by now in a state of near total exhaustion, manages to uncover an engraved lid. And so exhausted is he that it is only with his last ounce of strength that he manages to get the lid raised.
But what is under the lid is not what Freddie expects. Because instead of a casket and bones, there is a staircase going down. And Freddie is not totally convinced that going down an unexpected staircase like this is such a hot idea, but then he figures that after digging that much dirt it hardly makes sense to stop just at the point when you do not need to dig any more.
So Freddie goes down the staircase, and at the bottom he finds a tunnel, with a light coming from somewhere in the distance. And he figures that after climbing down all those stairs, it hardly makes sense to stop just at the point where you can walk on level ground.
So he walks in the direction of the light and eventually finds that the light is coming from a big underground room. And in this room there is a grand piano with two candelabras, and sitting at the piano is Beethoven. And Beethoven has a big stack of music manuscripts on one side of him, and a pile of blank pages on the other side. And he is sitting at the piano working on a manuscript with an enormous eraser.
And Freddie shouts at Beethoven: ``Beethoven, Beethoven, what are you doing?''
And Beethoven answers: