One particular scene in the movie really stuck with me when I first saw it and I loved it just as much this time around too.
Eddie Wilson, the leader singer in the group, has a disagreement about the the way bass player Sal Amato wants to play “Betty Lou’s Got a New Pair of Shoes.” Amato wants it to be upbeat without any pauses in the lyrics. Wilson on the other hand says, “I’m just saying words. You gotta give me a little room so people know what I’m singing about.”
As the debate goes on, Wilson asks for the opinion of a guy named Frank who works at the club they are practicing in. Frank is a little shy at first but he comes over and here’s what transpires:
“Now you heard what we’re talking about,” Wilson says, “What do you think?”
“I think he’s right,” Frank says. “I think it needs a caesura.”
“See,” Wilson says pointing to himself, “My way with a cesarean.”
“A what?” Sal says.
“Tell ‘em Frankie,” Wilson says.
“A caesura?” Frank says. “That’s a timely pause—a kind of a strategic silence.”
“That’s exactly right,” Wilson says.
“If you want, I’ll give you an example,” Franks says pulling a book out of his back pocket. “One evening I took beauty in my arms and I thought her bitter and I insulted her.”
“Sounds like sh**, right?” Wilson asks the group.
“Now I’ll do it with the caesura,” Frank says. “One evening I took beauty in my arms . . . and I thought her bitter . . . and I insulted her.”
“Now that’s got class,” Wilson says says turning to the group. “Does that have class Sally, right?”
Then Wilson looks back at Frank and says, “Hey kid, you can stay.”
Life would have more depth if we inserted more caesuras. Instead, it seems like we do everything at breakneck speed for the sole purpose of getting it over with so we can can do the next thing in the same manner.
I’d rather read a book in a contemplative fashion than reading it for the mere sake of getting through it—even if it takes me a lot longer. I’d rather listen to a song on a CD several times that speaks to me instead of simply allowing the CD to play all the way through without ever getting anything out of it. I’d rather read the Bible in small portions as I think about the context, setting, possible symbolism, and application instead of reading it quickly without any of those things.
Speed has it’s time and purpose too. But being conscious of the appropriateness of pace goes a long way toward making sure we get the most out of each experience.