Apparently, one Fiddler on the Roof actually played a trombone

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel in his natural habitat. Pretty much.
“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel in his natural habitat. Pretty much.

It’s been a week since those words were exclaimed in Braveheart fashion, sending Skippy, our newsroom’s resident rabid squirrel, on a journey to collect your odd and inexplicable photos. Why?

Because Skippy really needs to get out more.

But also because, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. And thanks to Kerbey at I Don’t Get It, I realized I have an obligation to use my investigative journalism superpowers to reveal the truth behind more than just The Box of old, unidentified and unclaimed photos in our newsroom. That’s why, like Spider-Man, I am swinging into action to help others, except without the sticky webbing or skin-tight body suit — because I also have a responsibility not to frighten people.

So while Skippy has been hopping planes and flying around the globe gathering your photos, and more than likely baring his teeth to avoid cavity searches by airport security, I’ve received a mystery photo emailed to me from Jack Schneider, a reader in Florida who discovered this photo inside a record album he bought at a local Salvation Army store…

Not every chimney sweep plays a fiddle...
See? Not EVERY chimney sweep plays a fiddle…

According to Jack, the album was a soundtrack to “Fiddler on the Roof,” which is exactly the kind of thrift-store find I think we can all agree Macklemore would pop his tags over. As always, the first step in any journalistic investigation is to establish a timeline and location for the photo. Utilizing a complex mathematical equation involving the square root of horizon-line degrees divided by shadow density and several other highly complicated fictional variables, I was able to conclude, with near certainty, that I can say any date at this point and you will believe me — which in this case is late August, 1979, about 3:30 p.m.

I couldn’t determine the particular day in August because, let’s be honest, fictional time stamping isn’t an exact science.

With a timeline established, the next phase of our investigation is to identify the location which, in this case, was actually very easy to determine. I say this because, as a Northwesterner, I recognize Portland, Ore., attire when I see it. Sure, this photo may have been taken more than 20 years ago, but here in Oregon our fashion sense has essentially stayed the same — at least when it comes to formal wear. It can only mean one thing when you see these types of fashion details…

Well-coiffed hair teased by the Oregon breeze
Well-coiffed hair teased by the Oregon breeze
Well-pressed, breathable shirt detailed with Native American imagery...
Well-pressed, breathable shirt detailed with Native American imagery…
Smartly-cuffed jeans accented by pasty-white ankles contrasting dark ankle socks...
Smartly-cuffed jeans accented by pasty-white ankles contrasting dark ankle socks…

It’s wedding time in the Northwest! And, as is often the case in a land known for its legalized marijuana trumpeting elk, we embrace the balance of man, nature and hallucinogenic mushrooms Starbucks by taking to the rooftops and trumpeting to the world our joy of matrimony!

Yes, I realize that is a trombone.

Hey, this is Oregon. At least he has clothes on.

(Have a photo mystery to solve? Email it to Skippy and I are here to help! OK, I’m not so sure about Skippy…)

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

Published by

Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

41 thoughts on “Apparently, one Fiddler on the Roof actually played a trombone”

                1. Wow, I’d apologize for this conversation while I was intoxicated but it was oddly funny to read for me so … carry on. 😀

                2. Imagine how funny it will be now that you’re sober! I think I’ll have too much to drink tonight and read over it again 😉

  1. Shortly after this shot was taken the sun strengthened and his sweat-drenched clothing caused him to slide down the corrugated metal roof, making an unexpected connection with the roof pipe. Not only was the plot of the movie quickly reconstructed to include a fiddler standing on a cedar-shingled roof, but the popular tenor singing note “high C” was discovered.

  2. Good God your powers of observation need welding. It is obviously near noon. Shadowology will show that the sun is near vertical. Just a bit left of vertical, actually. Making it Near Noon. There is only one place that was ever immortalized at noon and that was the OK Corral. Dueling trombones at the OK Corral. It was the warm-up act to the gunfight.

  3. That’s not a squirrel! Haven’t you ever been to a zoo? Or a suburban backyard?

    No clever quip about the point of that roof stuck in his arse? Maybe he’s actually a weather vane.

    1. If Skippy says he’s a squirrel, then he’s a squirrel. Who am I to argue? And live to tell about it…

      And if that guy’s a weather vane, I’m not greasing him when he gets squeaky.

  4. Ned, you are the ultimate jurnalistic investigator. Your celestial and solar analysis used to time date the picture is essentially accurate. I would like to point out, though, that you have accidentally double compensated for the extra days in the leap years since the begnning of time. This small error (much like the mirror surface angle error on the Hubble) resulted in an exact 10 year time displacement in the spatial positioning of the subject. The picture is, in fact dated August 16, 1969. This, of course was within the time frame for Woodstock. I would suggest that your photo subject who was obviously in Portland Oregon, as you said, was soulfully expressing his sadness at not being in Woodstock and was attempting to establish a Zeitgeist with his concert contemporaries. The shirt, the haircut, the pants, the unshaven visage all match the dress of the concert goers. Even down to having his pants rolled up to keep them out of the mud at the concert site. I would say from the look on his face that he had established harmony with the concert-goers. He must have climbed onto a roof in order to better effect the projection of his aura the long distances (no doubt enhancing the “skipping” effect- the reflection of EM and brainwave radiation off the ionosphere) required to reach Woodstock. This is why the photo is so apt for Skippy – the subject was “Skippying” his brain waves.

    1. Impressive ionospheric investigation technique rivaling that of Dr. Spock (the Vulcan, not the parenting expert). Oddly enough, Paul, that date would have made me exactly three years old. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, especially when you consider I cry whenever I hear a trombone.

      And so does Skippy.

      Must be those brainwaves still reverberating out there.

      1. That’s it, Ned! That’s why fate brought that photo to your desk. You’re channeling the young man’s inner noumenon.You’re his comtemporary quitessentialness. Think about it: the picture is on your birth date; you express the soulful blues of life with humor the same as the young man is expressing his Blues with the trombone; you’re an apparent lone voice in the universe as he was, playing to a huge audience across the continent (and in your case, the world); your voice is as if it is shouted from rooftops; you share a skippyness and you dress the same. It’s a miracle Ned!

  5. Au Contraire, eagle eye. Your eye is not so keen this week. Skippy has uncovered a rare photo of the “Diddler on the Roof”, preparing to extend his slide.

    I have been busy, so busy. Sorry to have shirked my duties here.

    1. Just because it rains a lot here in Oregon doesn’t always mean it’s showers.

      And just so you know, whenever you make it over here it’s always great to see you, Henry.

No one is watching, I swear...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s