Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Paul

My brother is in the hospital getting a Dacron aorta.  A simple arm strain injury at work led him to discover that we have the same genetic defect: coarctation or stenosis of the aorta and a bicuspid valve.  Mine was corrected by surgery (just the pinch, stretched, not Dacron; and not the valve) in 1956.  Medicine has improved. Certainly people have.  No one ran marathons in 1956; and he has run several.  Lately, however, he could not make three miles, so he says that he should have known…
After he started working on this,
and was living in California, Paul took acting lessons. 

After a lifetime on stage, he said the lessons helped.
He performed the work in clubs several times.  

Sketches of Dorian Gray trailer
The sibling rivalry we accepted as normal as children would not be tolerated today.  My being three years older and often 150% of his weight, it just was not fair.  When I went off to college, he had more growing space.  He also signed up for the wrestling team, picked a fight with me, and pinned me in one move.  So, that settled that. 

Episode One

He qualified for Cleveland Public Schools major work (“super normals”) program, which I did not.  Also, he actually practiced the piano, which I did not.  He had the insight to choose the violin while I picked the coronet.  So, he could get over his mistakes quietly, which I could not.  He became a musician. 
"Grey Haired Rats" -- Playing piano in a rock band sucks. I've had just about every kind of electric piano ever made. They all stink. More than once, I've had to play some strange approximation of a piano provided by a stupid promoter. One time the piano was 175 feet from the stage. (No you can't move it). Once the "piano" was actually an organ (Hey, it's got keys, what's the problem?) On top of that, keyboard instruments were ridiculed by just about everyone in our crowd it seemed. Too much like British prog-rock or worse, the Doors. Peter Laughner once told me pianos are OK, sometimes, but the pedals are only for squares.  -- THE STYRENES
 by Paul Marotta, Scat Records liner notes here.
We both held many jobs over the years.  He spent more time selling and less time on trucking docks, but, as Ayn Rand said, all work is an act of philosophy.  Eventually, he made vice president at New World Records, and even got a seat on the board before he was fired.   The Nineties were an interesting time.  We thought they never would end.  But they did, on September 11, 2001.  

Episode Two

Work got hard to find, so in 2005, my wife and I returned to school to complete the four-year degrees we never needed before.  When Paul saw how easy it was for me, he returned to earn a bachelor of arts in literature at Purchase College in the SUNY system.  He needed the vacation from life.  His wife had died far too young from cancer.  He was uncentered.  Time out for school was a good choice. 

He spent some time in California.  Now, he is in Massachusetts.  He has a new significant other - and a new heart.

Episode Three

You can browse for “Paul Marotta”, though like “Mike Marotta” you will find many. We are not dentists.  These YouTube links will help. 


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