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    Frumpy Mom: When people won’t stop talking at a concert
    • July 5, 2023

    Buried somewhere in my garage is a cattle prod that I inherited from my late father, who was a cattle rancher in Colorado.

    You know what a cattle prod is, right? It’s sort of like a taser, in that it has a mild electric charge that will “encourage” large uncooperative creatures to do what you want them to do. And, no, you can’t use it on your teenagers.

    However, I’d like to start bringing one to the live music concerts I attend these days. I’m not entirely sure it would make it through the metal detector. Maybe I could hide it somewhere in my walker.

    I need a cattle prod to discourage the people around me from talking during the entire show. I know you’re familiar with this scenario because nowadays folks seem unable to exhibit even the basic courtesy of silence while others are trying to enjoy the music. Maybe it’s because they’re used to talking during TV shows at home and they can’t distinguish between that and a public venue.

    So, you’re saying to yourself, “Yes, Marla Jo, we agree that people won’t shut up during a show nowadays and it’s maddening, but shocking them with electricity sounds a little extreme. Maybe you could just politely ask them to be quiet instead.”

    Um, no. See, the blabbermouths have usually been drinking, and that makes them utterly deaf, not only to everyone around them but to any desperate pleadings for silence.

    Are you a brain expert? Can you explain to me why drunk people have to shout at each other? Does something happen to their auditory canals or is it just that they’re morons in general?

    This behavior doesn’t bother me much in a bar, where it belongs, but when I’ve paid a ridiculous $221 to hear my favorite artist play his gold-plated guitar at the Forum, I really, really do not need some inebriated knucklehead next to me shouting to his friend about his new car.

    Are you kidding me? Didn’t you also pay $221 to get into this show? If so, then why is it that you display absolutely no interest in hearing the music? Please. Email me and let me know.

    My friend and I recently drove all the way up to Bakersfield to hear one of my favorite bands, Asleep at the Wheel, play at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. This is a place where you sit at a table, have dinner and watch the stage with a dance floor between you.

    I was really looking forward to the show, and we had a good table close to the front. Because of the layout, another table was in front of us and one of the occupants’ heads was directly in front of mine even closer to the band.

    The show was great, but the people in front of us would never have known that, because Mr. Blabbermouth near me never stopped with his never-ending, pointless babble.

    It’s not like he was even saying anything interesting that made you want to eavesdrop. All his blathering did was get between me and my enjoyment of the band. I raised a finger to my lips and went, “Sssh.” He just looked at me like I was speaking Swahili, and kept on with his drivel.

    A few minutes later, while he was still talking – it was impossible to get a word in edgewise between it – I leaned over and asked him if he could please be quiet so we could hear the music.

    This is how he replied: We have front-row seats so obviously we can do anything we want.

    Huh? That didn’t even make sense. Then he pulled out a signed photo of himself and the band, remarking that he was obviously a bigger fan than I was.

    “Then why don’t you bleeping shut up and listen to them?” I wanted to scream at him, but I could tell there was just no point.

    I sat back and enjoyed the show as best as I could, trying to ignore the running commentary.

    A few minutes later, I saw the guy point at me and loudly tell the waitress, “She told me to shut up!” as if that were the most outrageous thing that had ever happened to him since birth.

    I saw red, stood up, leaned over their table and told the waitress, “We drove 100 miles to see this show, and thanks to this guy, we can’t even hear it.” Then I sat back down and looked at my friend, because I had a feeling I was probably embarrassing her. I often do this.

    She just looked sympathetic. As you may have guessed, Mr. Front Row never stopped blathering and never stopped complaining at my outrageous request for his silence.

    When the show was over, I gave him a wide berth when we left.

    So, yeah, next time I just need that cattle prod. Mr. Front Row might have paid attention to that. I think Buck Owens would understand.

    Write to me at [email protected]. I especially love it when you tell me what I’m doing wrong.

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    ​ Orange County Register