When I was a teenager, I went to my first rock concert. It was back in 1975 at Madison Square Garden, and it wasn’t just any concert. It was Paul McCartney and Wings. I was going to see an ex-Beatle. It didn’t matter where I was sitting. I was in the arena! The buildup started blocks away when you had hoards of scalpers looking to sell tickets, and desperate fans looking to buy. Vendors seemed to grow right out of the sidewalk selling Wings over America t-shirts. On top of all this buildup, all my friends (myself included) had the fantasy that Paul would invite John, George and Ringo on stage, and there would be a Beatles reunion. Where else would they do such a thing other than Madison Square Garden?
Of course, the seats were up in the nosebleed section. These are the seats that are so high up that everybody’s noses start to bleed. Not only were we so far up that we could not really see anything, but our view was further diminished because everyone was holding their head back with tissues in their noses trying to stop the bleeding.
Despite that the fact that every single person in the “nosebleed” seats each lost three pints of blood during the concert, there was not a single person that complained. We all knew we were going to sit ion those seats and we made the decision to buy the seats anyway. We just wanted to be in the building. Only our parents suffered from Nosebleed CrankaTsuris. This was because, after three hours of bloodletting, a lot of the blood did manage to get on our shirts and pants. All the parents looked at their kids in horror as if they had come back from a gang war.
Peanut Gallery CrankaTsuris is a bit different, and is a CrankaTsuris that is worth looking at. There are many historical references to the term “Peanut Gallery” but similar to the “Nosebleed” seats, the Peanut Gallery are the seats way up in the upper balcony. This term goes all the way back to the 19th Century so when people sat in these seats, they could not really see or hear what was going on down at the stage. The people on stage may have looked like peanuts, but the term was used because peanuts were sold by the theater and the unlucky patrons who sat in these seats would heckle and throw peanuts at the performers on stage. Apparently, the people who sat in these seats were very capable peanut throwers, and probably had trained particularly for such an occasion.
The “Peanut Gallery” phrase was also referred to in racial terms. Again, going back to the 19th Century, in many theaters, African Americans could only sit in the upper balcony of the theater, and this too was referred to as the “Peanut Gallery.”
This is a form of CrankaTsuris, because these people sitting up in the Peanut Gallery could not see or hear exactly what was going on. Despite this, they made the judgment that the performers were all lousy, and these attendees up in the cheap seats had thus earned the right to give the performers their opinion by pelting them with peanuts. In the second use of this phrase, the judgment was made about the people who had to sit in this section.
This is exactly why we need to examine this particular kind of CrankaTsuris. Even though we are not sitting in the theater, because we take in and try to process so much information everyday, we all end up making judgments based on very incomplete information. We decide before we see. We decide before we hear. The rush to judgments then become a CrankaTsuris for the person dishing it out, and it is a CrankaTsuris for the unfortunate person on the receiving end. It then becomes likely that there will be a CrankaTsuris retaliation, and the entire interaction can turn into a Peanut Gallery CrankaTsuris food fight.
I had lived in a town years ago that featured one wealthy family as the most beloved in the entire town. They were generous and caring and it never matter what a stranger looked like, or where they may have came form. However, it was not always like that. For years, the parents in particular thought that they were special and better than everyone else. Why not think like that? They were the Fancy Nuts Family. They were a family of four. Petey Pecan was the father. Patty Pistachio was the mom. Their two kids were named Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia.
Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia did not have the same attitude as their parents. They liked to play with all of the other kid nuts in town, and they were both very excited that got major roles in the local production of The Nutcracker. Chrissy Cashew got to play the Sugarplum Fairy. Mickey Macadamia got picked to play the Mouse King.
There was one problem for Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia. The rest of the cast were all ordinary peanuts, and they knew that their parents would not approve of them performing with peanuts when the family had a reputation of being the Fancy Nuts.
Because of this, Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia hatched a plan to use fake peanut name aliases in the program. Chrissy Cashew was named “Penny Peanut.” Mickey Macadamia named himself “Paulie Peanut.” They would get tickets for their parents up in the Peanut Gallery so the parents would not be able to tell who they really were. Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia would then let the parents know they were actually in the production.
The night of the performance, Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio had their driver take them to the Every Nut Theater where the Nutcracker performance was going to be held. Both Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio were outraged when they found out that their seats were up in the Peanut Gallery. The performance was sold out so they could not exchange the tickets to a section where perhaps Fancy Nuts were seated. Once seated, everyone in the Peanut Gallery were peanuts themselves. Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio were each given a bag of peanuts and shown to their seats.
Petey Pecan: Can you believe this? What is the world coming to when Fancy Nuts like ourselves have to sit in the Peanut Gallery. Do you have a program? I want to see Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia in the program. We surely won’t be able to see them perform on stage.
Patty Pistachio: I do not see them listed in the program! They are all Peanuts. Do you think it is a mistake.
Petey Pecan: They are Peanuts. You know how Peanuts are. They probably left out all the Fancy Nuts out of the program intentionally. You know what. They gave us each a bag of peanuts. When the show begins, if we do not see our kids, we will just toss the peanuts at the stage. We Fancy Nuts shouldn’t be forced to sit through this!
Patty Pistachio: Sounds like fun! Petey Pecan. You are certainly the most fanciest nut around!
Petey Pecan: Tuche!
As the lights dimmed, and the curtain rose, the audience were instructed to turn off their cell phones. However, they were not instructed what to do with their bag of peanuts. Sure enough, once the performance started, both Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio started to fling their peanuts at the stage. The performance was quickly stopped. Sensing that they could both be in trouble, Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio slipped out of the theater before they were caught.
That night, both Chrissy Cashew and Mickey Macadamia came home crying and their faces both swollen.
Patty Pistachio: What happened to you two kids?
Chrissy Cashew: We both got hit by flying peanuts. Apparently, there was somebody in the Peanut Gallery throwing peanuts at the stage.
Mickey Macadamia: The police is looking for any information on who they could be. Were you there? Did you see who did it?
Petey Pecan: Ummm. Ummm. We didn’t see you in the program.
Patty Pistachio: Yes. We didn’t see you in the program, and we were not accustomed to sitting up in the Peanut Gallery. It is not something Fancy Nuts do. So, we left.
Chrissy Cashew: We were afraid that you would not approve of us performing with Peanuts. We took on Peanut names. I was Penny Peanut and Mickey Macadamia was Paulie Peanut.
Mickey Macadamia: But, because we were hit with peanuts, the other Peanuts in the cast gave us first row seats for tomorrow’s performance. We have to show that we are not intimidated by those hecklers up in the Peanut Gallery. You will come to watch us?
Patty Pistachio: Of course, we will watch you. It is true that we would not have approved you both performing with Peanuts, but you are our children. We will be there!
Petey Pecan: First Row!! I will contact the theater to make sure only Fancy Nuts are served. Nobody would ever throw a Fancy Nut. They are too delicious. Not to mention expensive. The Peanuts wouldn’t even be able to afford them.
Chrissy and Mickey: Dad!! Peanuts are just as good as any Fancy Nut!
The next day, Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio arrived at the theater. They sat at the seats that they were more accustomed to. However, this was going to be their first performance that featured Peanuts. While they were not expecting much, except for their own children of course, they were mesmerized by the dance and music. Tears ran down both Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio’s eyes. When the show was over, they gave both of their children the biggest hugs.
The next month, Petey Pecan and Patty Pistachio broke ground for the building of the town’s new museum. It was called the Peanut Performance Museum of Visual Arts and Gallery. Featuring works of art from the likes of Pablo Peanut Picasso, and Jackson Peanut Pollock, it quickly became the hottest ticket in town.
Getting back to our look at Peanut Gallery CrankaTsuris, this certainly does not mean that when we look closely, we will be guaranteed something of beauty and that will surely move us. We may even decide that up close, it is worth even tossing an egg or tomato. Hopefully not. But when everyone is looking closely with an open mind, the focus is on the respectful exchange of ideas. When we can have that as the focus with our opened minds, we then hit upon the cure for the Peanut Gallery CrankaTsuris.
So, as we start the New Year, may it be the year that we stop pelting each other with peanuts!!