Wang Wang Blues
Yesterday was my 89th birthday, a very prestigious year, according to my daughter’s Chinese Guru. It’s been said that anyone can claim anything as something to be of special merit. However, such beliefs hold that if the claim is validated by some event that foretells the assertion to be of value, then one can almost certainly rely on the claim. Many believe in omens and good luck charms based on experience or stories that we tend to accept on faith. When serendipity comes our way, especially if it’s unexpected, we hark back to moment we called an omen, all of which only strengthens our belief in practice.
Shortly after I was told that 89 was a particularly lucky sign, I picked up a CD containing some old hit tunes, when, Lo and Behold, I noticed one of the selections on the CD was a rendition of the Wang Wang Blues, an old song written decades ago by Fats Waller. When I was a paperboy of fourteen or so, between deliveries, I used to read while at the same time listen to music. In those days we used a Victrola, which required changing the record every time you wanted to hear a different tune, since each side contained only one melody. That led to my practice of playing the same tune over and over to avoid changing the record. Among my favorite tunes was the Wang Wang Blues, which had a soothing effect on my spirits. Strange as it may sound, during the 75 years that has evaporated since the time of my youth, I have been unable to find a copy of that song.
We have a locally famous record store here in San Francisco named the Amoeba, which set up business years ago in an abandoned 20-lane bowling alley, just to give you an idea how big it is. I visited that store several times and looked at every possible album, especially the many by Fats Waller, all without success. The store’s computer system has countless thousands of songs stored on that magical device, but not one reference to the song I so wanted.
Then, yesterday, on my 89th birthday, purely by chance, after 75 years of fruitless searching, I found that cherished song on a CD long in my possession. Definitely an omen that can be taken seriously about 89 being an amazing, awesome and remarkable time, causing me to believe that I stand to reap incalculable joy, riches and new friendships in the future, I feel better already. Today, just one day after my birthday, a dear group of relatives and friends came to have lunch with me and my wife, another sign that the foretold luck is here to stay, at least for the remainder of the year. Enigmas rule!