17 September 2010


Inspired by my feverish anticipation of two upcoming concerts … and by a certain Woody Allen film (with apologies to all concerned).

Scene: A doctor’s office. The MOTHER enters with her young SON, who sits in a chair before the doctor’s desk. The MOTHER hovers nearby.

MOTHER: Thank you for seeing us, Dr. Flicker. I’m at my wit’s end.

DOCTOR: What seems to be the trouble?

MOTHER: He says he’s depressed! Nine years old, and he’s depressed!

DOCTOR: Why are you depressed, Alvy?

Mezzomania: Could your child be at risk?

[The SON sits, hanging his head.]

MOTHER: [Answering for him] He says it’s something he read.

DOCTOR: [Amused] Something he read, huh?

SON: The universe is expanding.

DOCTOR: The universe is expanding?

SON: Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart, and that would be the end of everything!

MOTHER: What is that your business? [She turns to the DOCTOR.] He’s stopped doing his homework!

DOCTOR: The universe won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we’ve got to try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!

MOTHER: What has the universe got to do with it? You’re here in France! France is not expanding!

Symptoms may include headache, dizziness,
and inflammation of the Berlioz.

SON: [Continuing as if he hasn’t heard anything they’ve said] And if everything comes to an end, I might not get to attend the concerts by Joyce DiDonato and Susan Graham next week! And in that case, what’s the point of living?

DOCTOR: [Suddenly serious] I see. Alvy, would you mind waiting outside for a minute?

SON: Might as well. It’s not going to make any difference, anyway. [He exits.]

DOCTOR: Mrs. Singer, how long has Alvy been listening to mezzo-sopranos?

MOTHER: Why — I don’t know. It all started with Marilyn Horne, I guess. Is there a problem, Dr. Flicker?

DOCTOR: Mrs. Singer, I’m going to level with you. Alvy may be suffering from Mezzomania, a possibly fatal condition.

MOTHER: But Marilyn Horne!

DOCTOR: Yes, yes, I know, it seems harmless enough to begin with. I mean, how can you like music and not like Marilyn Horne? But then you keep going … and going … until you’re listening to Susan Graham, Joyce DiDonato, Joyce Castle, Cecilia Bartoli, Vivica Genaux, Angelika Kirchschlager, Bernarda Fink, Anne Sofie von Otter, the list goes on.

MOTHER: You’re telling me! They’re all he wants to talk about. He’s just crazy about his mezzos.

DOCTOR: Literally, I’m afraid. And then comes the harder stuff, Dolora Zajick and Stephanie Blythe.

Some patients may experience occasional redheadedness.

MOTHER: Oh, Dr. Flicker! Just yesterday I caught him locked in the bath­room, listening to Ewa Podleś.

DOCTOR: A contralto! Why didn’t you tell me this immediately?

MOTHER: I didn’t realize —

DOCTOR: We’re going to have to operate immediately. Time is of the essence! If we don’t act now, he could start listening to —

MOTHER: [Horrified, sobbing] Countertenors!

DOCTOR: I’m afraid so. Mrs. Singer, you did the right thing in coming here today. And with any luck, Alvy will be back to normal in no time.

SON: [Sticking his head in the door] Is this going to take much longer? Because I don’t want to miss Frederica Von Stade’s farewell.

DOCTOR: [On intercom] Nurse, cancel all my appointments for the rest of the day, and call an ambulance. This is an emergency!

This is International Mezzomania Awareness Week.
Please be aware.


gaulimauli said...

Dear Dr. Flicker: Can I make an appointment? I suffer from the same symptoms as Alvy. That (occasionaly)red-headed woman seems to be the root cause of my problems.

William V. Madison said...

I'll schedule treatment immediately. We're expecting a rise to pandemic levels following Joyce's concerts in Paris next week; the waiting room will be crowded, but we will do everything possible to treat everyone.


Dr. Flicker

Mikebench said...

I caught the virus LONG AGO... It might be too late for me...