When I was a kid, I loved reading. I l digested books in gulps so big, my parents were afraid something might burn out in my brain. They tried to limit my reading hours. And then I got a cold. Not just a runny nose that lets you skip a day at school. It was a real fever, the kind you see in horror movies when deadly epidemics break out. And, of course, the fever was tailgated by the ubiquitous runny nose, headache, and sore throat.
The doctor who came to see me told my parents that I should drink a lot of water and tea, sweat profusely under a thick blanket, use salted water to clean my nose and NOT read or watch TV. I thought my life was over.
And then my dad put a rasping LP vynil disk of Armstrong songs performed by Armstrong into a machine that was called a vynil disk player at the time. Armstrong was one of the few Americans allowed to be listened to in the Soviet Union without the risk of being asked out on a romantic date by a down-to-
earth treason KGB officer.
I had to listen to Armstrong 24/7. Surprisingly, by the end of the week, I was not hating him and his songs, but absolutely, profoundly, irrevocably in love with them.
Dear Mr Armstrong,
I would like to use the opportunity offered by the Daily Post today to ask you something. I know that if there’s anything up there, you are on it. I mean, sitting on a cloud talking about music with Cole Porter, who’s just been transferred from Purgatory, on probation. I am sure you’ve been promoted to a saint, so it is within your power to grant me my wish.
I love traditional jazz. I love listening to your songs. They make me go back to my childhood, my room, my blanket and teddy bear. It is OK. But please, please, please, REMOVE the fever from these memories. I hate that fever, and your songs make me feel it over and over again.
Your faithful fan from a planet far, far away.
PS. Please say hi to Nat King Cole, he was another American we could listen to safely.