Originally Published: September 3, 2017 5:58 a.m.
Dear Annie: I’ve been a successful trumpet player for five years now and in marching band for three. My director praises me often and says I’ve shown much improvement since last year.
However, despite my being great and all, there is a problem: a 5-foot-tall trumpet-playing problem. “Addie” has been in concert band for a year and in marching band for about two years. She has been up the director’s rear end ever since our winter concert last December about being a trumpet in the halftime show. Recently, as the director and I were discussing halftime show music, Addie came up and inserted herself into the conversation. Then she and the director talked, and it was decided that I would be on second trumpet.
I have been working hard to be first trumpet in the halftime show for years now, and I wasn’t going to let Addie steal that from me. After my mom had a discussion with our director (even though I told her not to), we all agreed on splitting up the parts. I mainly have the second trumpet part, except for three songs in both pregame and halftime. I was given the solo I had wanted so badly, and I’m also part of a brass quintet in another halftime song. (Addie got an eight-measure feature in that song, which she brags about daily.)
But still, I feel that she’s trying to steal my part. She played my solo the other day while the high brass members were just messing around and said, “Ha! That’s fun. I can see why you like to play it.” I’m unsure whether she’s trying to one-up me or trying to support me. What should I say to her to get her to stop? — Band Geek in a Bad Mood
Dear Band Geek: That football field is big enough for the both of you. I doubt Addie is out to get you, but even if she were, you can’t stop a one-upper by one-upping her. Instead, focus on practicing even harder. If you channel your competitive energy into becoming your best rather than besting somebody else, it will pay off.
Dear Annie: I have a friend who, without fail, will blow her nose either before or after eating a meal, often using her dinner napkin. I don’t notice her blowing her nose so much otherwise — probably because it doesn’t repulse me as much when I’m not eating. She has no clue that this habit — and its accompanying sounds — does not belong at the dinner table.
Every time we go out, I tell myself that maybe just this once it won’t happen (but it does, without fail). I don’t know how to bring it up, and I can’t believe she has to be told. We have been friends for so long that at this point, I think it would be just as rude of me to tell her to mind her manners. I am hoping she will get the drift via your column. — Baffled
Dear Baffled: Remember that nobody’s perfect, and the best test of good manners is patience with the bad ones. That said, if you two are close enough friends for her to regularly clear her sinuses in front of you, then you’re close enough to be honest with her. Be a bit self-deprecating (e.g., “I might just be a germophobe, but...”) to soften the blow. If you absolutely can’t bring yourself to tell her, then either make peace with the habit or stop going out to eat with her.
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