Back in the old days I had a roommate. If I ever wanted to get rid of him for some reason, all I need do was turn on the stereo and play an opera record. Records were these big disks that held music. He’d be gone within minutes. It always worked.
Then, later on in life, there was a time when I would be down in Arizona sometimes visiting my dad. Well, his golden retriever loved to go for rides in the car–any car. And one day I was taking him somewhere and I had the local public radio station on the radio. They started a Metropolitan Opera broadcast. Well, this damn dog stuck his head out of the car so far I thought he was going to fall out. I grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back in. I had to turn off the radio to get him to settle down. Well, later that night, I had the TV on to the PBS station. I was reading something and not paying much attention. Zeto was curled up in the corner snoozing away. Suddenly, some Lincoln Center opera special came on. The dog stood up and glared at me. He was really pissed off. I’m sure he decided I’d deliberately turned on the opera again. He stormed out of the room, quite mad. That dog did not like opera.
I’ll admit opera is an acquired taste. But I don’t think people realize the power of it. Just think, if a teacher had an unruly class, she need only turn on opera for a few minutes and the kids would all be repentant and promising to be good. A boss wishing to punish an office full of malcontents need only change the PA system over to opera. And, to clear out those customers who won’t go home one need only turn on opera at the local bar or restaurant and the people will be hollering for their checks.
I, myself, have done as much in the hotels I’ve worked at. If I wanted to get rid of guests from the lobby, I would change the music over to opera. It always worked. But I forgot to turn it back one day. That actually got me hauled into the general manager’s office where I was asked why I turned on opera. I said it was that way when I came in. He did not believe me. Deep down, I think he knew why I did it and that I would likely do it again.