Guitar Gods

He walks into the aucoustic guitar room, so quietly that I may not have noticed him had he not asked almost immediately:

“Hey, have you taken lessons?”

“Not really, maybe like two or three of them, and that was a long time ago,” I look up from the $400 guitar I had been playing to appraise this high pitched inquisitor.

“Oh,” he says, “Me neither.” He’s about four feet tall, Asian, and most certainly seven years old. He’s got round little glasses and a puffy black jacket. He’s freaking adorable. The kid picks up a guitar and sits down on the stool across from me. The guitar is markedly too big for him but he manages somehow to reach the strings. I stop playing and hold my breath because I’m almost certain I’m about to get schooled out of this Best Buy by a musical prodigy. Just my luck, I think. Here I am in this Best Buy, feeling pretty OK about my mediocre ability to have a good time playing the guitars, and this kid walks in.

“Do you have a guitar strap?” he asks all of a sudden, before playing a single chord.

“No, I don’t have one,”

“I really, really want one.” He looks down a the guitar which is black and larger than his entire body. “I’ve never played on a real guitar like this before. But I need a big one. A big one to play Blackbird on.” He sighs and starts playing the first couple notes. He’s not bad. He may be prodigy material, but I’m relieved to realize that I’m not about to get totally blown out of the water. Phew, that was a close one. We both keep playing, a dissonant duet: me whatever I was already playing, he the first three notes of Blackbird over and over again.

“Do you get finger picking?” He stops playing and looks over at me.

“Not entirely: It’s pretty tough, right?”

“Yeah, it’s really hard! I don’t get finger picking!”

“Well I bet if you keep practicing one day you’ll be really, really good.” Suddenly I realize I’m sitting at a different end of that proverbial table, you know, the one that turns on around you without even making a sound. No longer am I the kid fooling around with the guitar in the shop (for me it was Redemption Song, not Blackbird) but instead I’m the adult fooling around with the guitar in the shop and trying to offer advice that I (the kid me) never really followed. But this kid, maybe he’s smarter than I was; he smiles and doesn’t answer. Instead gets up to put the large guitar back on the rack. I offer him the one I had been playing, because it’s a bit smaller, in tune and it’s probably time for me to get going anyway.

“No thanks, I should probably leave this room too, before I break somethun,” as he follows me out the door. Ah, a pragmatist, after all.

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One Response to “Guitar Gods”

  1. michael9murray Says:

    Lovely, lovely stuff!

    Long may you write!

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