Now that scary Halloween is over, we have a day even more frightening looming large: Tuesday, November 6th. This is the day of the all-important midterm elections but that should not overshadow the fact that the day is not all doom and gloom. November 6th is also “National Saxophone Day.”

National Saxophone Day coincides with the birthday of Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument designer born in 1814. Any biography of Sax is incomplete if it does not note that at an early age he hit his head when he fell from a height of three floors and was also hit in the head with a cobblestone. This may account for his inventing ever popular instruments like the saxtromba, saxhorn and saxtuba. Luckily, aside from hitting his head, he hit upon the saxophone or we would have no National Saxophone Day to celebrate.

I myself play the saxophone. No, that is a misleading statement apparently acceptable to many people in today’s politics but not in civil company. It would be more accurate to say instead that I own a saxophone, acquired some years ago on a whim for a few dollars. I can’t remember how and when I got the instrument but I vaguely associate its acquisition with a party where people were shedding all their worldly possessions and I ended up with the old sax.

The saxophone is a C.G. Conn, 10M Lady Face Tenor built in 1952. It has that name because of the engraving of a woman’s face on the bell. The C.G. stands for Charles Gerald Conn who started manufacturing musical instruments in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1873 after deciding to develop a rubber-rimmed mouthpiece for his horn which he needed because a barroom brawl left him with a split lip. There is no mention of a head injury.

I purchased my saxophone because I was single at the time and couldn’t imagine any woman not being extremely attracted to a saxophone player. I was just hoping that some would also be attracted to a saxophone owner.

But there was another reason: this was going to be my backup plan in case I went blind. I realized that all of my skills and income-producing activities were visually oriented. If some ugly accident or disease rendered me blind, I could still be a productive and popular member of society if I could blow a mellow “Harlem Nocturne” on a tenor sax.

Unfortunately, the original instruction book that I am certain must have come with the sax was missing. I had to learn on my own so I started blowing trying to make a sound; any sound. At first all I got was dizzy.

I happened to be obtusely acquainted with John Firmin, a real saxophone player who was performing at local clubs and seemed keen to come over to the table where my future wife and I were seated. He would make passes at my date while I tried to engage him in sax talk. He assured me that the phenomenon of my saxophone not making good music was no fault of the instrument. Years later, to verify Firmin’s allegation, I had Dan Schofield, a one-town-over neighbor and real musician, actually play it. He floored and humbled me with the sound it is capable of producing in the right hands. Sadly, I did not have the right hands.

After a good deal of time and much light-headedness, I taught myself to play an elementary rendition of “Sentimental Journey” and a simple version of “Auld Lang Syne,” which I play at midnight in my front yard every New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, certain notes that are required to play “Harlem Nocturne” still elude me even though I have pressed every key and button I can find. All this is little consolation if I go blind.

Since most of us can’t play the sax, the best activity for November 6th would be for all of us to get out and vote. It may not have the immediate and local effect as a great saxophone solo but it’s much easier and has the potential for more far reaching consequences.

The time to break out the sax music is after the vote, when you can either opt for upbeat party music or down-and-out blues. There is music for every party affiliation, but remember: you can play your saxophone any time you choose but you can choose with your vote only on National Saxophone Day.