Posted in Commentary, Lessons Learned

Never Say Never

Things I’m not writing about this week, because they depress me:
1)  7 dead in a murder-suicide over parents losing their jobs.  Money woes are miserable; I’ve been there.  But they’re never worth dying for.
2) Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle, who were offered cabinet jobs despite having decided, despite their oaths and the law, that paying their taxes is optional.  Shame on them.  And I’m disappointed in Obama for going ahead with them after this came out.  At least Daschle had the good sense to bow out, finally.

3) Greedy jerks on flight 1549 (which landed in the Hudson River) who think that despite the fact that they are alive and have been refunded their ticket price, plus given $5K for their missing luggage, they’re owed a big payday from an airline who, as far as I know, do not control the movements of waterfowl.

4)  My UPS guy’s pathetic attempts at package camouflage.  Because tucking it behind the short wall there would’ve been just too logical?

Instead I’m going to tell the story of a girl and her guitars.  Once upon a time, a girl decided she wanted to learn to play the guitar, though, truth be told, she hadn’t been a girl in a long, long time.  Nonetheless, she wanted to learn to play the guitar, despite being somewhat long in the tooth for a beginner.  Cognizant of her own past practicing history (or the lack thereof), she bought herself a cheap guitar from Walmart so that if it sat in a corner unplayed, she would not have cause to lament the expensive dust collector she had purchased.  This guitar she named Florence, Flo for short.  And together, with much swearing and sore fingers, she and Flo forged a musical alliance.  The girl could not imagine ever needing another guitar, and they were happy.

Flo was pretty much retired after the girl went to guitar camp, saw the many guitars that were available in the world, and, ready to start playing steel strings, found her way to the guitar store within a week of returning home.  There, she found a new love, whom she named Vera.  Vera could be plugged in and played out.  Vera was stylish; snazzy, even, in an elegant black and white.

Then the girl, influenced by a fiendish Tracy Chapman song, bought Ruby, an Epiphone knock-off of the Gibson 335 she dreamed of.  Then it was Marilyn, the mandolin.  Next was Tess, the twelve-string.  And, needing a pick-me-up in the worst way in the Fall of 2006, an afternoon of flirting with many girls at the guitar store resulted in her coming home with Stella, who quickly became the girl’s guitar of choice, the one she reached for first every time.  And then there was the travel guitar, Annabelle, and another electric, Blanche.

The girl now had a full-fledged case of Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, but insisted to anyone who suggested dealing with the problem by just trading old guitars for new ones that she would never, ever get rid of one of her girls.  To consider doing so would be like selling off one of her children!

But ever since Stella moved in, poor Vera just hung on the wall, lonely and rarely loved in the way she deserved.  Every once in awhile, the girl would take her down, play her a little, and put her back, missing Stella’s full sound that just couldn’t be matched by Vera’s slim body.

However, Vera’s plight weighed on the girl’s mind.  Guitars should be played, and Vera deserved better.  When guitar camp was coming up, the girl decided she would bring Vera, and in anticipation of this, played Vera for a week and a half prior to camp.  In doing so, she discovered that Vera’s thicker neck made her hand cramp up, made chords harder to reach, and the playing experience just wasn’t as much fun as it should be.  Vera did not go to camp.

The girl considered selling Vera so that she could find a good home and someone who would love her as she deserved, but the first offer she received was so low as to be insulting, and so Vera stayed, still unplayed, not only out of habit, but out of self-defense as well.

Then one Saturday, the girl and her trusty enabler spent the day wandering from guitar shop to guitar shop in search of whatever trouble and adventures they might find.  In the tiny folk shop, filled with strange and fanciful instruments of all kinds, including a guitar made out of a toilet seat, the girl found the right instrument to satisfy her recent ukulele cravings.  It was used, and inexpensive, but it sounded nice.  She named it Lulu, short for Lulukulele.

But they were not done, and found themselves at yet another guitar store where the girl tried expensive Taylor guitars, only to find that they were not quite as heavenly as she remembered them being.  Nice guitars to be sure, but perhaps not several thousand dollars nicer than Stella or any of her other guitars.  A dream dashed (though certainly encouraging to her purse), she wandered out among the rest of the guitar population.

It was there she saw it, the light glinting off the celluloid binding.  The girl loves celluloid.  When she picked it up, she saw that the sides, back and headstock were zebrawood.  The girl loves funky woods.  And the price was exceedingly reasonable.  The girl loves exceedingly reasonable prices.

So she played it awhile, and then waited to speak to the merchant about possibly adopting this guitar.  The problem, she explained, was that her wall of guitars had no more room.  In order to take this one home, she would have to part with one.   And she offered up Vera, her second eldest, though she swore she never would.

They discussed it, and he made a good offer contingent on inspecting the instrument.  Within a brief period, the girl had returned home and then back to the guitar store  with Vera.  She held her breath as he examined her girl, and then said he’d do it.

So the girl returned home with a new guitar, but a net guitar gain of zero.  This guitar she named Carmela, after Tony Soprano’s wife, because the guitar, too, is blonde and a wee bit gaudy.

Everybody, this is Carmela.  Carmela, this is everyone.


And they lived happily ever after.  The end…as long as the girl stays out of guitar stores.



I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Never Say Never

  1. I always love reading your guitar stories. And a big welcome to Carmela; she’s beautiful.

    One of the reasons I’m finally getting off my butt about my flute is your love of music and tenacity in doing what you love. I start flute lessons tomorrow (Friday) and have actually joined a flute ensemble and begin rehearsal on the 23rd. A little bit of nerves about this public endeavor is in action, but I take your example as my inspiration that I can do this.

    The UPS tactic made me laugh out loud.

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