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Staff Stories: Bizarro DCI Universe
Marlan Smith, Visual Staff

Apparently, I am no longer in my own universe. I am in "Bizarro DCI Universe" where the Blue Devils perform West Side Story, Cadets perform Malaguena and Drum Majors conduct, instruct, play in the pit, dance and march drill all in one show. This should come in handy for the DCA "Attention Deficit" awards this year.

Not to be too picky, but didn't we have like, oh I don't know, FOUR marching staff at the beginning of the season? What the hell happened to that? Oh yeah that's right: you all decided that you wanted to march in the show. HA! Gotcha!

So now it's just Dave and me. It's fun really. We are bonding which is cool. We painted a circle together for the drums. Next week we are getting pedicures together and getting our legs waxed!

Speaking of the field... and speaking of Bizarro Universe. I think I need to get stoned if Jim is going to keep painting the field in Neon Orange Alien Landing Strip color. ...ok, I need to get MORE stoned. I can understand the orange paint to be honest. It is important to be able to actively identify the field as it blows off into the wind and gets lodged in your eyes.

So, lets look at what all happened recently: we got the rest of the way through Niner-Two. This is our "look we can march in odd meters at different tempos" piece. While working with the drums I ran to get more drill for them. While doing this I hear something from Dave and Dave about "Oh, remember that part at page blah blah? Yeah, we reversed that and also at page blah blah."

"Ok" I say as I grab the rest of the drill and run back to the drum field (which is really the guard field) to deliver the drill and teach it. We get through the drill (just past page blah blah.) Hmmm.. page blah blah. I remember Dave and Dave saying something about page blah blah. I should double check now that we learned it. Get in car. Return to horn field.

"Marlan's got another question" comes the heckling from an unnamed staff member. I can tell this is going to be a reoccurring theme throughout the marching season.

Turns out I was right. It was page blah blah where we made that "small" change. Instead of the way I taught it, now EVERYTHING IS REVERSED. Perfect. Get in car. Drive back to drum field (did I mention this is the guard field?)

Guess what drums. It's Bizarro drill! Do everything we just taught you except backwards.

Now, about the drum field: turns out, since I made the new hash marks on that field about 2 months ago, we have yet to get an opportunity to march on it. Not a single drummer has laid foot on my freshly soaped virgin hash marks. This is largely due to weddings, conventions and porn shoots taking place. I'm not worried though; that Ivory Soap will last at least another 5 years.

We get through Tears in Heaven, and there's more Bizarro drill changes. Whatever. Done and done.

I spent my lunches at Dave's house this weekend. (Not that Dave. No, not that one either. The one with the blue and red hair... plays mellophone... got it? Ok good.) He gave me a binder to replace my binder as it no longer will hold the 5 billion pages of drill we have this year. I also like the verbal abuse for not being able to drive in heavily urban areas. "Stop being such a pussy and merge!" Thanks Dave.

Dave has two dogs. Well, more like 2.85 dogs as I believe that they may very well be in a state of mitosis, where one day, a third dog will miraculously emerge from them. Either that or they are just freakishly obese. Until I see otherwise, I'm sticking to the latter. The chocolate lab is carrying a lint brush in it's mouth with that look of "Oh yeah, trust me, you'll want this."

The next day is an ensemble day. A lone soccer mom has parked her Subaru in the "Forbidden Zone" where the 5-yard line exists in our imaginations. I run over to warn her and end up giving a lecture on the history of Drum Corps and a rough schedule of performances. Hey, it was that or a flag through the windshield. I let her off easy.

As with most ensemble rehearsals, the day consists mostly of cleaning drill and music over and over. There is just a LOT of it to be cleaned. I hear my named called by about five people at any given break in the movement as some collision is taking place at some point in about every maneuver in Niner-Two.

Paul Olsen wasn't available in the morning to shout "Dut! Dut! Dut!" for the mellophones, which I'm sure the sops were happy about. Although I kind of enjoyed the "Dut Wars of 2003" that occurred at the previous camp when Rich Duarte decided to Dut all the eighth notes in retaliation. Now THAT was entertainment. "He's yelling 'Dut' not 'Cut.'"

Another lunch with Dave and his morbidly overweight dogs occurred. This time we are treated to the battle of minds as Dave's dogs attempt to out smart him and achieve their goal for the day of licking everyone's arm.

Back on the field we somehow manage to clean some of the Matrix and the rest of the show. The field produces a dust cloud that resembles scenes from The Mummy as I am watching the show from across the street. A thought occurs to me and I start to cross the street to talk to Dave. No not that Dave. The one that conducts and instructs and I guess MARCHES the show now? I guess Dave has been holding out on the secrets of warping time and space.

I take a step into the street and a little voice in my head says "Hey! I wonder if there is any traffic. Wouldn't that be a hoot!" I look to my left to see the 5:30 bus narrowly miss me by about a foot. Now I can't say that my life flashed before my eyes, but the only thing that I did think was:

"God that was stupid."

Now, perhaps my life did flash before my eyes and this was my initial reaction to it. Or maybe I was simply thinking "God that was stupid" that I just about got myself flattened by the 5:30 bus. Either way, all I know is this. I want "God that was stupid" as my epitaph for my tombstone.


Editor's note: Marlan, a Freelancers alum, is a member of our visual staff, a professional video game tester, and Photoshop guru.

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