[A-Z] N is for Noodlin’



It’s been a long time since I’ve seen or listened to a Marx Brothers show, but I’m still a fan. Have been since my mother gave me an album of theirs for my… uh… twelfth birthday? Maybe it was my thirteenth? At any rate, I was pretty young, but I loved the album, which was something like “Marx Brothers Classics Volume 2”. I listened to it obsessively for months, possibly years. I had every one of Groucho’s jokes memorized, and while I never got around to learning to play the harp (or was ever interested for that matter), I did certainly appreciate Harpo’s talent on that instrument.

There were some neat guests on that album (I think Doris Day was one), but the one I really remember is Oscar Levant. He played an instrument (I think it was a violin? Again, I was very young), and did an improvisation with Harpo that I thought was brilliant. Groucho asked what the two would be playing and Levant answered, “We’re just going to noodle around.” And so that’s what they did.

I spend a lot of time doing that myself: improvising on what I’m going to do, what decisions I’m going to make, where I’m going in my career (both writing and tech). I have a feeling that noodlin’ around is what adult humans do the most. I certainly remember thinking at times when I was a teenager that I couldn’t wait until I was an adult and would have my act together; little did I know that “having your act together” is just a myth, and that adults don’t really have any better an idea what they’re doing than the kids do.

So I just noodle around, poking my head into various projects and tasks until my to do list becomes unwieldy and I start to panic about the number of novels I’ve started outlining and the number of new features I’m going to implement into our product at work. Right now I’m working on two novels and three short stories, primarily because I’ve managed to whittle my project list down significantly. I have a “top ten” list of projects at work which has ballooned, sort of like the early Universe in its hyper-inflationary period, into a couple dozen. I like to think that I do a pretty good job of condensing it into an easily-managed list on another platform.

See? Noodlin’.

Just like I’m noodlin’ through this A-Z challenge. I thought about doing the letters in order, I really did. But then yesterday I realized that the only A word I could come up with was “Antelope”, and I have nothing clever to say about antelopes, so I decided to start with another letter entirely, and copy what my wife did by working with the letter H.

There’s still no plan.

Groucho would have been proud.

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