KLEZMER GUY: Piano Men & Highly Sensitive People

Piano Men & Highly Sensitive People

By Bert Stratton

Highly sensitive people. That’s a book title: The Highly Sensitive Person. These folks are bugged by eyeglasses that rub; pillows that don’t fluff out enough; shoes that don’t breathe well. Basically, they’re like Woody Allen but not as funny.

Cleveland has its share. These highly sensitive people shouldn’t live in apartment buildings.

When I lived in an apartment, I thought the guy upstairs was dropping weights all day. It was probably Kleenex. I bailed in three weeks.

I own and manage apartment buildings. I wrote an addendum to a lease: “If you’re a party animal, party elsewhere.”

Didn’t work.

For example, I have a couple piano-playing renters. Lou plays classical all day. That’s OK with everybody. Free mood music.

But Mr. Ragtime — he’s not so well-loved. Ragtime’s neighbor periodically calls the cops and writes me letters about “headache-inducing, thundering piano music.”

I told Ragtime to go electric — get some headphones and play for himself. And I told the highly sensitive neighbor he could move out and I’d give him his security deposit back.

He didn’t move. He just kept writing. He could crank out the prose: “Right now I’m hearing piano music at decibel levels designed to throw the planet out of orbit… No more piano music!”

He liked to write more than he liked moving.

[Illustrations by Ralph Solonitz]


Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy. He knows about the band biz and — check this out — the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klez Landlord. You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. His blog Klezmer Guy (http://YiddisheCup.com/blog) has a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets. Klezmer Guy was a reporter for Sun Newspapers. He has written for Rolling Stone, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Times. He won two Hopwood Awards.

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One Response to “KLEZMER GUY: Piano Men & Highly Sensitive People”

  1. Does anybody know when Bert Stratton is back in town?

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