by Kung Fu Zu 11/1/17
With all the revelations of sexual harassment, groping and overall bad behavior hitting the news lately, I have decided to finally write about an embarrassing incident which I experienced as a young man.
In November of 1976, Beverly Sills came to Dallas for a week of performances with the Dallas Civic Opera. Sometime during this period, a local worthy decided to give a reception for Miss Sills at his/her apartment in Turtle Creek, a very upscale part of Dallas.
While working on my master’s degree, I would sometimes work at a catering company which belonged to a friend of my father. It was this company which was employed to handle the food and drink for Miss Sills’ reception.
As was normal for such occasions, we caterers arrived at the apartment an hour or so before the reception was to take place to insure everything was in order for the star’s arrival. Of course, Miss Sills did not show up on time. Performer that she was, she delayed her appearance in order to heighten anticipation of her grand entrance. And grand it was as she swept into our presence. Beverly Sills was a large woman and she stood straight as a ramrod to accentuate her height. Her hair and dress were something out of an earlier period and her overall demeanor made me think of Marie Antoinette. I spoke to her briefly and she left no doubt in my mind that she was regal.
After Miss Sills passed by, I went back to my job of serving drinks to the guests. I had a tray of various drinks in each hand and went from guest to guest politely enquiring as to whether or not they might wish to have a drink. I felt like something out of the movies in my black pants and short black waist jacket with gold buttons and trim.
Shortly after making the rounds, I took a position on one side of the room in order to get out of the way of mingling guests. While I stood there, a small foreign looking fellow with a couple of woman chattering at his side came up to me. He was the tenor who had sung with Miss Sills, which must have looked somewhat strange on the stage as she must have been 5 or 6 inches taller than he.
In any case, the little man bounces up to me as I stand there holding two trays of drinks. He grabs me between the legs and says “Make love notta war.” He then takes a drink off one tray and gives me a big smile.
Imagine my predicament. There I stood, the hired help in a very uptown residence, at a big elegant party for one of the world’s premier sopranos, having just been accosted by a little squirt of an Italian tenor. I was truly pissed off. Two different possibilities came to mind. I could empty the contents of both drinks trays on his head or I could grin and bear it as long as he didn’t touch me again. Luckily, the tenor moved off and I decided to let it pass.
I came to two important conclusions from this experience.
The first was that while there are situations in life which are unpleasant, and one may wish to react forcefully to them, it is sometimes best just to walk away and forget about them.
The second and more important conclusion helped determine the shape of my later life. In my youth, I had planned to become a professional singer, but I had been ambivalent about that choice for some time by the end of 1976. I knew that the “performing arts” were full of immoral, predatory and despicable people, but had not yet completely broken my connection with the fraternity. My experience with the little Italian tenor, who by the way is still alive, was the final push which helped me to decide to walk away from the entertainment field and move into the arena of international business.
On balance, I think I made the right decision.
Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States. He now does most of his singing in the shower. • (261 views)