An Instrument of Evil


As a bagpiper, I know what it is like to play a much-maligned instrument.  Much maligned.  Believe it or not, violists have this same experience.  If you Google “Bagpipe Jokes” and then try “Viola Jokes,” you find pretty much the same material.

But the piccolo?  I always thought of it as part of what’s cool about Stars and Stripes Forever, almost as cool as the trombone part at the end.  (Yes, I play the trombone too. I am as cool as you can be.) As it turns out, not only is the piccolo not cool, it’s dangerous.


The Piccolo Truth According to Craig’s List

Apparently, there are terrible things that you should know about the piccolo. The indented excerpts below are from the actual Craig’s List listing that I saved from obscurity before it was pulled down.  Honest.

4SP Silver Plated Gemienhardt Piccolo w/ hard case – $300 (Kennewick)

They call the trumpet “God’s Instrument.” The instrument that takes a month to learn and a lifetime to master. Forget that. I’m giving you the chance to own “Satan’s Instrument.” The instrument that takes a second to hate and a lifetime to get used to. If your goal is world domination, getting the ball rolling on the apocalypse, or simply disarming someone, this miniature flute of terror will hold the game down. And how.

Brought to you by Lucifer himself, this 4SP Silver Plated Gemienhardt Piccolo will serve his evil minion well. From its compact arthritis-inducing body this pipe will unleash a sound that can bring entire crowds of people to their knees in pain and surrender. If you’re thinking of starting a bloody coup, leave the AK-47s and sarin gas at home son, this picc is all you need.

Having introduced us to the offending mini-flute, the seller pitches a fit (frequency pun, yes).

This instrument has the ability to sing an A five lines above the staff so crisp and clear that, if you’re not careful, you may actually cleave your conductor’s brain clean in half. Its highest note is one only dogs can hear, that composers have dubbed “X.”

This is the only instrument able to kick a field goal of pain right between the goal posts of your unfortunate target’s neurons, resulting in synaptic misfires, blown mental fuses, and a complete breakdown of all left brain activity, leaving the right brain to writhe in pain and confusion whilst scrambling all bodily motor functions. Any soul unlucky enough to wind up on the business end of Beelzebub’s piccolo will instantly be reduced to the fetal position and revoked of their right to free will.

Aside from violating several Geneva Convention protocols, this wailing weaponry can produce frequencies that wreak havoc upon others by causing:

– sudden unexpected nosebleeds

– aphasia

– heart palpitations

– aneurysms

– loss of sanity

– unexplainable rage

– spontaneous combustion

– abandonment of the will to live

The seller wraps up by the sales job by detailing his or her ability as the former player of this instrument to exercise evil sovereign rule over a kingdom filled with minions who live to do their ruler’s bidding.

This effectively tees up the shrilling confusion. (I pun! I pun!)

Since I’m livin’ the dream, I’m retiring from my reign of terror and am passing the torch. Being evil is an arduous, exhaustive effort, and this musical scepter cannot be played by your average white bread vanilla villain. Only the most cunning, dextrous, morally ambiguous, and questionably sane may apply. Who among you is worthy?

$300 OBO. Willing to throw in a box of gravel and ship.

What about you?  Do you wish to wield a piccolo and rule the world? Do you despise the piccolo, or are you more hostile to the viola or the bagpipes?