I am the Pianobike Kid
I was born on a Friday – just in time for the weekend. The first thing I noticed was that people needed cheering up – something to laugh at. “You can laugh at me,” I told them and it felt good. I would sing; they would roll in the aisles. Quite a gift since these were serious songs. When I was two or five or three sitting on my daddy’s knee he smiled and told me, “Life is funny!” He proved this by turning his eyelids inside out and rattling his false teeth. Later that evening, when I was supposed to be asleep in bed my sister and I sat at the turn of the stairs listening to immense fun emanating from Granny’s front room. Firstly Granny, then Daddy played the piano and everyone was singing their hearts out. I told my sister, “when I grow up I will play a piano and cycle it through Portland, Oregon. Then I will fly it over the city.” “Don’t be ridiculous,” she scorned, “there is no such place as Portland, Oregon.” My mother had ambitions for me. She wanted me to grow up to be a normal person. I tried hard only to discover that I had no concept of what a normal person was. What confused me most was that my mother was more exceptional herself than she liked to admit. Years after Daddy had died and gone she would come to my gigs and sit among strangers from every land in the world telling stories of rearing twelve children and how I was more trouble than the other eleven put together. Then she’d laugh with pride and everybody knew she loved me. She was there the night that English Peter kept dancing in front of my piano. Sixteen times I warned him that he was not a permanent part of the show and should maybe sit down but he just laughed and danced on. Finally I jumped to my feet, caught him by the scruff and pushed him through the swaying crowd and hard against the wall. “Oh,” he said, “You were serious!” Bob Murphy from Boston leaped to his feet and entreated everyone to put five dollars more in my tip jar if I would punch the guy! But it was too late. Peter had sat down. My first pianobike was built in The Netherlands. I wanted a Sindle-Zucal because all the kids I knew in school had bragged that they would drive Mercs and BMWs and Lamborghini. But this was no Sindle-Zucal! This was just any old pianobike. I rode it one day circling the streets of Kilminchy (real name with the editor) singing ‘It Never Rains in Ireland’. The clouds opened and the deluge came down. I didn’t quit. I’m not a quitter. I kept playing and singing, “It never rains in Ireland -it never rains at all” and from the doors of the pubs people swinging glasses sang, “Nobody drinks in Ireland … nobody drinks at all.” ... Ahh, twas great but the wind roared and the storm grew and soon I was blown out to sea. I was rescued by a ship sailing to America but the pianobike was lost. The newspapers in Ireland reported me dead which made me very famous but I knew that I would never really break through worldwide until I had a Sindle-Zucal under my ass. I soon met the love of my life and we married and she took me to live in Florida. Every day looking in the mirror I would see myself a week older than the day before. I knew I had to get out of Florida before I accidentally retired or worse. I said to my love, “Where do people live forever young?” She said, “Portland, Oregon!” And so we loaded the wagons and set off. To pay for the trip I did house concerts along the way. I would tell people about my pianobike and show them old photographs. “Wow,” They’d say, “It looks awesome!” “It was a fun machine,” I’d tell them, “but it was no Sindle- Zucal.” At that very moment right behind me a man’s voice said, “Did somebody call me?” I said, “What?” The man said, “I’m Tom Zucal, did somebody call my name?” Can you believe it? Right there at my house concert Tom Zucal!!! I showed him the photo of the old pianobike. “What a shocker,” he said, covering his eyes, “but I can build you one that’ll make you famous. Hey Jimmy,” he called to an equally handsome chap across the room, “this young Irishman needs a real pianobike - can we do it?” “Sure,” said Jimmy Sindle and I knew I would, at last have my Sindle-Zucal. Now those kids from school with their Mercedes Benz and Rolls-Royces could kiss my feet. So we come to the present day where I sit at my window just south-west of Portland Oregon looking out at a brown and a white horse in a green field and wondering how I will bring my new pianobike from New York to the west - thus fulfilling the dream of a little boy who once sat with his sister on the stairs of his Granny’s house in Dublin listening to inspirational piano playing from his Dad and his Granny and hearing all the people laughing and singing happy songs. This was the boy’s legacy, which he could now pass on to the world.