If you are in Band, you inevitably contract a disease called 'Banditis.' The word for a person who has this disease is 'Bandite,' or, commonly, 'Band Geek.' Banditis is a non-fatal, but non-curable, disease. In some cases, it is contagious. There is only one known treatment for Banditis: a yearly dose of Band. This dose can last anywhere from 3 months, for Marching Band, to 7 months, for Concert Band, or a combination of the two. Supplementary doses can be acquired from other Band groups, such as Jazz Band or Clarinet Choir. A Bandite who is removed from a source of Band will suffer from withdrawal.
If you have contracted Banditis, do not despair. Although there is no cure, if you associate with other Bandites, you can achieve something that resembles a 'social life.' We call this pseudo-social life a 'Band Life.'
Once you have a Band Life, you will find that your behavior suddenly changes. For the last two weeks of summer, you will be forced to march endlessly back and forth over a hot asphalt parking lot under the burning sun, with the supervision of a slave-driver. Only for about ' hour a day are you allowed to go inside. When you are outside, you cannot even sit down during breaks. After you are let out in the late afternoon, you may stumble home for a few hours' sleep, before you must wake early for the next day of torture. This is called 'Band Camp.'
After Band Camp is over, and the Marching Band Season progresses, you will find that as winter approaches, the weather gets colder. Although you were dying in Band Camp, you may find that the cold is worse than the heat, even though during Band Camp, you longed for cold. Now, when your hands are too cold to play your instrument or flip your flag, you will wish that you were back on that parking lot in the sun, sweating too much to play your instrument or flip your flag. This is a direct result of Banditis.
There are several symptoms of Banditis, some of which are listed here:
Instead of walking, you find yourself marching. If you are walking and hear music, you will subconsciously adjust your steps so you are marching to the beat. You will also end up walking in step with those you are walking with or people that are walking in front of you. To figure out which side is left, you take a step forward.
If you play an instrument and hear music, you will subconsciously try to figure out the notes, and you may, at any time, find yourself fingering a pencil or other stick-like object. If you are a Color Guardian, you will try to drop-spin strange objects. Then you'll announce to any non-Band people around, 'Now I'm going to do speed spins,' and you expect them to care. (foolish child.)
You will find that the phrase, 'This one time, in Band Camp'' becomes integrated into your vocabulary. You will start identifying people by what instrument they play, and eventually, simply calling them that instrument. A typical progression is, 'Stephanie' to 'Stephanie who plays the clarinet' to 'Stephanie the Clarinet' to either 'Stephanie Clarinet' or 'Clarinet Stephanie.' When you say the alphabet, you go from A through G' then you start back at A again. When you count, you don't count, 'one, two, three, four'' you count, 'one and two and three and four and'' Someone is talking about something that was banned, and you think they said 'Band.' When you're writing, you capitalize 'Band' all the time, even when it doesn't quite make sense, because you love it so much. When you're doing that word-association thing, for every word you say either 'Band' or some other Band-related word. The only stories you tell are Band stories.
Sudden Free Time
When Marching Band is over, you will discover that you miss the 6-days-a-week practices. You will suddenly have much more time than you know what to do with, something that leads many people to seek supplementary doses of Band. You make up a list of 'Rules of Band'' and your friends add to it. Your Rules of Band say things like, 'Band is life,' and a heck of a lot of inside jokes that only the people in Band would understand. You have Band dreams. When you don't have Band dreams, you feel like you didn't get a good night's sleep. You go to football games at other towns, and watch the Band.
Friends and Family
Your only friends are other Bandites, and your only friends that aren't Bandites are your instrument and your pets. Your band really is the Mafia' and your band director is the Italian Godfather. You go around saying things like, 'Forget your family. You'll never see them again. Band is your family now.' You're talking to friends who are in Band in another town, and you're talking about people whom they don't know, but then you say, 'It's a Band story,' and they understand. You think the Drum Major is cute' but so do all the girls, and probably some of the boys too. You sit in the 'Band Section' in the cafeteria' or if you don't, the people you sit with wonder who you are. You accidentally call or refer to your band director as 'Dad,' or, in our case, Uncle Timmy.
This is when you know that you have developed Severe Acute Banditis.
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