Imagination is Ephemeral Because it Has to Be

I am a big fan of imagination even if I am clueless about the subject. Seeing others do things that are wildly beyond my skillset makes me wonder how they did it or, if that is also beyond me, at least why.

Imagination is ephemeral because, once something has been done a few times, it stops being imaginative. We have to take it to the next level because it is the cleverness not the thing itself that appeals.

One benefit of being locked up in our houses as we stare down this nasty virus is that we have a chance to open our minds to new ideas, ways of doing things and maybe even solutions.

Here is an example in the world of music, a topic that ranks high on the list of things that are “wildly beyond my skillset.”

A couple of weeks ago at the beginning of my own lockdown, I was in touch with a friend of mine called Jake McCray. By all odds, Jake and I should never have even known each other let alone become friends.

He is much younger than me and most assuredly did not know the words court tennis until adulthood. Somehow, he saw the game, took it up and became a skilled player. Sadly, his progress up the rankings coincided with my age appropriate decline, but so be it. Jake had the imagination to try something new and we are both the better for it.

Good imagination, Jake, but not the imagination of this story. Look at the picture up top. See the bass player to the right of the conductor? Count back three rows to the dark-haired sax player in the dark blue uniform. That’s Jake.

Back in 2013, the idea of a flash mob was imaginative, but the idea was so good that many copied it and the surprise element was lost. The United States Air Force Band, of which Jake is a member, no longer does flash mobs but, the idea opened the door to the creation of other unexpected concerts.

Have a look at what an unexpected pleasure looked like in 2013. But then find your way back because there is something more current but equally imaginative.

How do you do a flash mob during a lockdown (assuming you still want to)?

Here’s the answer.

Take that you nasty little virus. Old great ideas get replaced by new ones. We win because we have imagination.

8 Responses to “Imagination is Ephemeral Because it Has to Be”

Don, April 02, 2020 at 1:29 pm said:

Loved it. A few days ago I saw on TV a clip with the entire(?) Ohio State marching band segmented on a single screen


Haven Pell, April 02, 2020 at 2:07 pm said:

Next up, some creative programmer needs to move the Zoom pictures around to spell the famed “script Ohio.”


Temple Grassi, April 02, 2020 at 1:59 pm said:

Court tennis, sax player in Air Force band, and makes his own beer! Jake is a true Renaissance Man!🎾👨🏼‍✈️🎷🍺


Haven Pell, April 02, 2020 at 2:08 pm said:

There you are, even more imaginative than I thought


jake mccray, April 02, 2020 at 9:59 pm said:

Thank you for the mention Haven! I’m honored to call you a friend.

The first of 5 annual flash mobs was created in 2013, in response to a unique constraint (at the time unique, not so much anymore) called ‘government sequestration.’ Filmed at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the performance was designed to serve as a free social media advertisement for our Holiday Concert Series (also free). A few thousand attended the live concerts, a few million have seen the viral video. Go figure.

Skip ahead to March, 2020 and the current ‘unique constraint’ has appeared. Private music lessons are virtual (as are all meetings at this point), and musicians are using resistors, diodes, cables, and satellites to replicate the live performance. Perhaps classical music can slow, if not ward off its demise by using innovative and modern techniques. If it worked for our flash mob……

Connecting these two performances is clever, unique, and timely.

As for me, the saxophone and court tennis have taken me to Afghanistan (twice) and Europe (more than twice), respectively. To live in a modern world and play an ancient sport is juxtaposed against visiting an ancient world and watching an ancient sport, through modern technology. Fortunately, the Russian 120 mm rockets were not accurate in 2013 nor the Christmas of 2014 and I was able to return back to the Homeland for more government dysfunction and ancient sport.

If you had asked me in 2007 when I picked up court tennis if I could’ve imagined this day, I would have replied, “never in my wildest imagination.”


Haven Pell, April 03, 2020 at 10:38 am said:

Thank you Jake. There is much in your story that I did not know. Let the imagination adventure continue.

You might be in one of the world’s smallest Venn Diagram overlaps.


Lisa, April 03, 2020 at 2:31 pm said:

Well- you’ve made my day!! Thank you for this!!


Haven Pell, April 03, 2020 at 2:55 pm said:

Thank you Lisa. Glad you liked it.


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