Idea #95: the secret jazz pianist stylings of the janitor

A few days ago, WordPress asked us to write about a rare, hidden talent no one knew we had.

I thought, why should we only blog about ourselves?  Who cares about reading about me all the time (except, maybe my mom)? Are bloggers really that narcasistic?

 So, I’m dedicating this post on hidden talents to the janitor at a local community center.

On Sunday evenings, as I hone my little-known rare talent (that will go unmentioned in this blog post),  I take breaks and wander the hallways of my community center. Not much else goes on in the building on Sunday evenings, so this little group I mingle with has the place to ourselves.

As I strolled in the lobby, I stopped in my tracks when I heard what I thought was a recording of Jazz piano music. It was coming from the darkened, empty senior lounge.

I peered in and it was not a recording, but the janitor. The  janitor with the wiry, stringy dirty blonde hair and thin drawn face. The janitor who looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. The janitor who carefully vacuums the lobby was seated at the grand piano in the corner of the room, playing the finest jazz piano I had ever heard without paying for a door cover charge and a two drink minimum.

I asked if I could come in and listen and he nodded to me wordlessly. I was in awe of his playing and told him so. I told him about the column I write and asked if I could intervew him for it, when, with an annoyed look on his face, he told me no. But, he did tell me his story.

He grew up down south and was a pretty serious musican. He was in a jazz group and had regular gigs. They were about to get a recording contract, but something – the pressure of playing before a crowd and the pressure of the music industry – made him snap inside.

Since moving up north, he tried to get his musical career off the ground again, but couldn’t shake the stage fright.

So, there he sits, after he cleans up after us, and plays piano in the dark.

Now, if we travel in the same circles, and after reading this, you may say “ooooooh, I know who she’s talking about! I never would have guessed he could play piano that well!”

But, gentle reader, I beg you not to bring this to his attention. Because he doesn’t want the attention.  Just, when you pass him by as you go for your workout or as you see him vacuuming up after a community event,  know that you are in the presence of a brilliant, but clandestine, musical genius.  

And never look past anyone or underestimate anyone’s talent based on the way they earn a paycheck.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a reporter and public relations professional for over 30 years, specializing in profile features and investigative longform writing. During my career I've profiled WWII Honor Flight Veterans, artists and musicians and have written on topics that range from environmental and gun control issues to Jewish culture. Click around on my writing samples plus read my blog on my personal life raising three kids over 27 years and three cities.

One response to “Idea #95: the secret jazz pianist stylings of the janitor”

  1. munira's bubble says :

    That was a lovely post. 🙂


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