Right Column Redux: Wait Wait

Paul Stories: My Tux and my Sax

Read the explanation of this series here.

OK, I admit this is cheating. Most of these stories I have told ad nasuem over the years. But this one actually elicited a “how interesting” from a listener.

In 1992, at the age of 40, I decided it was “now or never” to fulfill my childhood dream of learning to play the saxophone. My first public performance was with the Open Systems Today jazz band. I only knew four blues chords, but I did OK.

When it came time to buy a horn, instead of renting one, Joe at Campana music told me to buy a new Selmer Paris tenor sax for $3,000. “Look at it this way; if you play it for 30 years, it’s under $10 a month.” I hit the 30-year mark last year. I purchased it with my inheritance from my grandmother. I asked Dad what Grams would have thought of me using her money for a horn. “She’d say you were a damn fool.” And, it’s now worth more than I paid for it (not counting inflation). Take that, Grams.

The brass bands I’ve played with required formal dress during concerts. For the first two years, I wore a used tux I bought at Goodwill. Then in 1993, my tailor (yes, I once had a tailor) suggested I buy a $3,000 tuxedo. “I can make it timeless; lapels get wider and narrower, but I’ll give you one right in the middle.” I used my winnings from the Scrabble TV game show to pay for it, it is now in its 30th year.


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