What's With Those Guys In the Black Leather Trench Coats?

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

I hope you can take it like you dish it out because I've got a "gentle reminder" for you. What you referred to last week as a cowbell in the 1990 hit "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory is in fact an agogo bell. If only I had your powers of expression, I could more properly formulate my question, but alas, this is the best I can do: Into what hole will you now slink?Liberty Bell

Dear Bell,

Wow, your energy, it's fantastic! Don't look now, but I think all four elements on your chakric slot machine have come up fire. A fierce quadruple blaze! I thank you indeed for that refreshing blast. You must feel better than Chuck Mangione right about now.

Thanks also for the intriguing point you raise about agogo bells. I love it when a regular person such as yourself takes an interest in music. Don't you agree that the arts are just so important? Please shake your head with me in aghast wonderment that the government does all it can to destroy them. I am glad that, to go along with the runaway train of your honesty, you have at least a glimmer of these larger issues as well. After all, great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, and poor minds discuss people. Don't you agree?

But even though it hardly warrants mentioning, so long as we're on this more trivial ground, let's just take a quick look at the Wikipedia entry for agogo bells. "They are," it says, "a kind of cowbell." Well! Whaddya know? Kinda funny how these things turn out, huh? Fate is indeed a mischievously spinning wheel, one moment lifting us up to the sky, the next moment depositing us in a deep hole, much like the one you just suggested for me. What can you do but laugh at the tricks she plays? Maybe another day and another turn of the wheel will cause our positions to be switched, with you up high and me down low. Of course, you know, maybe not.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

Duke. Howard. USC. Michigan Law. Do I care where you went to school? No, I do not. And yet here it comes again, that tasteful font across your sweatshirt, spelling out the name of your university.High-School Grad

Dear Grad,

This? Sure, it has the name of my alma mater on it, but that's pretty much an accident. I just threw it on as I was making my way out to jog or pick up a few things at Whole Foods or whatever. True, its soft, sun-bleached shapelessness may comfort me as I make my way through the weekend, as if I were enjoying the daylong embrace of a quietly prestigious Muppet. But that's not because I want to trumpet the name of my school or because I think that my school is better than your school (if you went to school at all; and of course it's OK if you didn't). This sweatshirt is just a spontaneous expression of who I happen to be, a guy who happened to go to this school—whose name you perhaps have heard, since it's pretty well known. My university sweatshirt is good for more than just casual Saturday afternoons, by the way. I can match it with a pair of sport sandals and I'm ready to hit the opera.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

Those guys who wear wide-brimmed black leather hats and full-length black leather trench coats—what's up with them? Are they some sort of secret society dedicated to bad hygiene?Trench Coat Barfia

Dear Barfia,

The software industry has given self-confidence to men who wouldn't have it otherwise, providing fantasy worlds in which they can be powerful killers. But despite their sometimes animated discussions about broadswords, these men do not generally seem to engage in real violence. So why not extend to them a measure of charity? When next you see one of their milky white faces bobbing toward you in the crowd, instead of a clever put-down, think of a pirate ship silhouetted against the moon, a medieval army rumbling through the countryside, or the stuffy cabin of a six-legged tank skittering across an alien planet. Catch a whiff of the virtual adventure emanating from these potbellied figures, and you'll see them as they'd like to see themselves—as gallant, fearless warriors. And rather than thinking less of them, you'll find you're thinking better of yourself.

Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to uptight@seattleweekly.com.

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