I play a wicked mean blues air guitar. Usually after one drink too many. I almost always say upon such occasions, “I could do it if I just knew how.” And I could. I really could. I’m convinced of it. So convinced of it, Santa asked me what I wanted one year and I said, “A guitar.”
Santa brought me a whole kit. Case, stand, picks, tuners, Guitar for Dummies, and other assorted accessories.
I couldn’t tune the damn thing. Tried and tried. I have a good ear, but I can’t figure out how to get the strings to the tension required. I turn the little screws things this way and that to no avail. I use the electronic tuner. I don’t think I’m doing it right.
In desperation, I cleaned my house and invited a musician friend and his wife to dinner. Told him he not only had to sing for his supper, he had to tune my guitar.
He did. He declared it not bad for a cheapie.
After they left, I tried some chords. Damn it’s hard. My old hands may be too arthritic to learn new muscle movements.
Now I didn’t put a lot of effort into learning, but I did give up. The guitar still sits on its stand in my living room. I like the way it looks. It’s a decorator guitar.
And, so when I have too much wine, I get out my air guitar and wail the blues. Clapton and Beck have nothing on me. B. B. King. Otis Rush. Elmore James. All of them can’t hold a candle to my virtuoso performance. I am a spectacular blues air guitarist. I do not have an equal.
I also cannot play the piano, a flute, a recorder, a kazoo, or an organ. I am very good with a stereo receiver though. I’ve got that one down.
I think it cruel of the creator to bless me with a good ear and a musician’s soul, but not the talent.
And it’s not just a matter of not knowing how. In 6th grade, I had to take a test to enroll in 7th grade band. I didn’t pass. In 7th grade chorus, my teacher told me not to enroll for 8th grade chorus.
I told this story to a very good friend who went to college on a voice scholarship. She said, “Pshaw…You’ve just never been taught.” And she set out to teach me.
She waived the white flag after 20 minutes.
“Wow,” she said. “You hear everything.”
And I do. I hear it all. Music is full-body experience for me. I can’t abide background music. When I listen to music, I listen to it. I sit still, often with good earphones (not earbuds) hooked up to the good receiver, and wallow in the sound.
I hear it all. I can’t find one note and duplicate it. They are all there together – one entity.
And so, one of my biggest regrets in life is not being able to mimic the music I love.
It’s heartbreaking in a way.
I was blessed with other talents that perhaps other people yearn for, but they say you always want what you can’t have. Whomever they are.
But in this case, it’s true.
I could do it if I just knew how.