Tag Archives: Bluebird Cafe

National Lampoon’s Vacation Meets The Bluebird Cafe

By Jack Edwards

Last summer, my family took a road trip similar to the one the Griswold’s took on National Lampoon’s Vacation. The only major difference was that despite our best efforts, we never managed to actually hoist a dead relative onto the roof of our car. When my older daughter realized that we were going to visit Nashville, she immediately had three heart attacks and a stroke, and demanded that we visit The Bluebird Café. I had never heard of The Bluebird Café, but my daughter, between the series of electroshock jolts the paramedics were applying to bring her back to life exclaimed with much enthusiast enthusiasm that this was where Taylor Swift was discovered. She said it verbally, not using her preferred method of communication – texting, but she still managed to say it in all caps, so it sounded like this: “THIS IS WHERE TAYLOR SWIFT WAS DISCOVERED!” Followed by a strange and unnatural shriek.

Understand that I never leave my office let alone my house, so virtually everything pertaining to pop culture is lost on me.

As my daughter’s sinus rhythm slowly returned to normal, she managed an emphatic grasp, “We HAVE to go!”

So, we go.

The Bluebird Café has every bit of the elegant curb appeal one would expect of a place called Mom’s Pie Shop. It’s a hole in the wall anchoring the butt end of dingy strip mall. We called ahead and a Bluebird representative told us to show up at least an hour early if we wanted to make sure we got a table. Not wanting to take any chances, my daughter suggested we pitch a tent and campout from the night before. We compromised at arriving 90 minutes early. We were second in line. Surprisingly, there were a varied list of activities to help us pass the time. These included popular pastimes such as, standing in line, looking around while standing in line, and my favorite, leaning against the wall while standing in line.   Every so often, someone who was obviously an important, “connected” Nashville “insider” arrived and was ushered immediately through the front door.

Then the big moment finally arrived. The front door opened and the swell of people waiting outside poured through like a monster tide. We dashed in and stepped up to claim the perfect table in the center of the room – not too close to the stage, not too far away. Perfect. And just then, as the swarm of patrons snatched the tables all around us, a guy who appeared to have some special Bluebird official authority grabbed a “Reserved” sign off a nearby table and slapped it down in the middle of “our” table. He gave us a look. The look didn’t say “sorry” as much as it said, “that’s the way it is, folks.” Understand that The Bluebird Café isn’t a particularly large venue. The entire room is just slightly smaller than the average postage stamp. My gut reaction was to argue with him, while, lucky, my daughter’s reaction was to immediately claim a table that wasn’t too far away. She employed a technique most often used in roller derby, where a woman slams her right shoulder into the solar plexus of her competitor. It was a surprisingly effective move, and after stepping over the victim’s body, I took a seat.

This is when a guy marched up to the front of the stage and gave us (well, everyone) “the talk.” It turns out that The Bluebird Café isn’t really a café, it is a “listening room.” Yeah, you heard me right – it’s a “listening room.” There is a no talking policy during the performances. And it’s strictly enforced. I felt like I was back in Mrs. Grumfielder’s 5th grade class. They made it crystal clear that any talking during the performances would be met with swift, and intentionally aggravated violence. At least that was the impression everyone got, because you could hear a pin drop following the warning, and the music hadn’t even started yet. The only noise was from our chairs rattling from our shaky intimidated legs.

But all the waiting, fear and intimidation was worth it. The music was excellent. It was a night to remember. I highly recommend it. And if you decide to visit, tell the door man the Griswold family sent you.

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Dr. Edwards, Paging Dr. Edwards!

Trust me. I'm a Doctor... sort of.

After careful consideration and deep soul searching, I have decided to quit my job and become a doctor.  No, I didn’t say go to medical school, don’t be silly.  I’m much too old for that.  I’ve just decided to become a doctor, as in start telling people I’m a doctor and begin practicing medicine.  I’m ready for the challenge the practice of medicine provides and, of course, the heavy burden of this serious responsibility.

I am not rushing headlong into my new profession.  My decision was the result of personal observations of medical doctors both concerning my occasional ailments, as well as those around me.  I have concluded, through such careful observation, that 99% of the time, the scientific diagnosis procedure involves the doctor asking a few simple questions and then pulling a Magic 8 Ball from his pocket and giving it a good shake.  This was underscored to me when my wife, after seeing three different doctors for a severe acid reflux problem, spending thousands of dollars and undergoing an unpleasant procedure where the last one, a specialist, stuck a stick with a camera on it down into her stomach for a good looksee, finally went to see a naturopath.  The naturopath took all of five nanoseconds to correctly diagnosis her as being lactose intolerant and charged her a buck ninety-five.  Now, before you think I’m unfairly judging my new colleagues and their medical protocols, I am not.  It is very difficult to meet and diagnosis the requisite 2,000 patients per hour to sustain a vacation home in Rancho Mirage and three weeks a year in Cancun.  The results I plan to get using my iPhone and a little game changer I like to call the “College of WebMD” will surely be more accurate.  I’m confident that I’ll be in the top 75% of my profession within the first week.

Because I don’t want to actually set up my own private practice (too much cumbersome paperwork), I plan to apply to a few group practices.  I figure I’ll start with family medicine.  Yes, this will take a resume, but understand that everyone in medicine including the office managers are all so overwhelmed that the odds of anyone actually checking the accuracy of my resume is less than one percent.  Given that, I’ve decided, what the heck, why not jazz it up?  So I’ve noted an undergraduate degree in Biology from M.I.T. (at least I hope they offer a Biology degree), and my medical degree from Harvard (yeah, go big or go home).  And I’m not completely sure what the difference is between a residency and a fellowship, but I think I have the order right, so I completed my residency at the Cleveland Clinic (which I am particularly proud of), and a fellowship at the Vanderbilt Medical Center.  See, in the unlikely event that someone questions me about my resume, I’ll slip in a comment about Vanderbilt, and the next thing you know we’ll be talking about Nashville and country music and about how Garth Brooks was discovered at the Bluebird Café.  Nyuck, Nyuck.  I know that many of you are wondering why I don’t play it safe and put down, for example, the Jamaican College of Medicine, where, if it even exists, record keeping might be a little loose.  Yeah, I thought of that, but if you’re going to be a fake doctor, at least take pride in your fake credentials.

Don’t worry, I have no plans to operate right away.  And I also have no plans on turning my back on keeping up with my profession by ignoring the primary source of medical advancements – the pharmaceutical representative.  I recognize that these clean cut and well-dress young people with their degrees in English Literature and two weeks of training in Hoboken, New Jersey, are the backbone of the medical profession.  I’ll be all ears when they call to tell me how to treat my patients.  After all, they always have clinical studies to support their advice.  Both the health of my patients and the health of Big Pharma are safe with me.  And if you happen to show up at my clinic, please keep your yap shut.  You have nothing to worry about, because, only as a backup precaution mind you, I’ll always keep a Magic 8 Ball in my pocket.