Just to finish the story, I must tell you that I completed my electronic shopping successfully.

A man — Dweezy — has weighed in on the whole electronics-shopping thing. He says he can’t get people to help him at all. He takes his sister-in-law with him to get the attention of the salesmen. Presumably his presence keeps them focussed. In both stores I visited in my quest yesterday,  I asked women for help, just to see whether it would make a difference. And in both cases, they called guys over to do the helping. They were very helpful.

The fellow in the first store clearly explained the difference between — okay, I don’t want to give away the secret, so I will say between XXX XXs and XXXs. It was just a bunch of numbers, anyway. The guy in the second store did not laugh at me, even when I asked him, “As a former boy, do you feel that this is the coolest-looking one?” I did have to make one phone call to #1 daughter to make sure that I should not have gone with the round tortoise-shell thing instead of the one I did get, but I am now contented.

I have been linking you to a song every day, sort of a virtual advent calendar of music. Mostly, I have suggested songs that are fun and easy to sing. Today’s song is not easy. It is “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” one of the most beautiful tunes among the beautiful Advent hymns. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/e/letallmf.htm The words are 4th century Greek, translated by G. Moultrie. The tune is the 15th century French hymn, “Picardie”. It was the great Ralph Vaughan Williams who put the tune and words together and arranged it. You can find the words set to other music, but don’t mess with perfection.

This is not easy to sing. It demands a fairly large range. It has some challenging intervals. And, frankly, it sounds best when sung by someone with what we often call a “good” voice. That is, more like Josh Groban than Bob Dylan.

Last night I sang through my Gibbons solo with the choir for the first time. I found that my counts were off in several spots, an embarrassing discovery to make as you sing the thing in front of the choir and instruments. I suggested that, since it was a solo, I could just sing it the way I wanted — who would know? But the director unaccountably disliked that idea. The rest of the choir went off to practice “What Sweeter Music” while I stood with the organist beating out the Gibbons. The organist, bless his heart, wrote in all the counts for me (“1 2 3 4/ 1and2 3 4” and so on) in the hard parts. I am singing this on Sunday and hoping not to be humiliated. Or not more than I already have been. I may have to beat time on the baptismal font.

The problem is that, while I have a good instrument and excellent pitch, I am not so good at reading music. I am good at phrasing and interpretation and I take direction well. But accuracy — forget it. This may be more than mere illiteracy — it may be a central character flaw, as all who know the story of the felted clogs, or who have seen my mitered corners, will attest.

So “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is a good song for me to sing. Since I know it by heart, I can sing it without anyone knowing that I am not actually reading the music. This allows the positive aspects of my singing to show. Having it for song of the day may make me feel better about what I did to the Gibbons. Maybe it will turn out to be a good song for you to sing, too. I think it would be good to play on violin or cello, or perhaps the flute. However, since you are the director of your own song of the day, you can play it on the kazoo while singing it in the style of Willie Nelson, and no one can stop you.