For a minute there, I lost myself…

Some things occurred to me while I was on the elliptical trainer this morning, you know, elliptical training.

First of all, when you try to take your iPod out of your pocket because the Deathcab song is just a bit too mellow, you can almost lose your balance and fall off. Apparently I’m a little dopey early in the morning. (Shut up.)

(Just FYI, my iPod is named “Sir Reginald Winterbottom III.”)

I also realized that my interest in learning how to play guitar is not waning like I thought it might.

For years and years, every few months I’d get the urge. Then it would slowly fade. Back in my second year of university, I learned how to play some of America’s “Sister Golden Hair.” I didn’t finish learning it because my friends and I got hooked on playing three card poker. (aka “Red Dog.”) Something had to give. I had already dropped schoolwork from my schedule, and wasn’t willing to give up pick-up basketball games, so my rock career it was.

And a nation wept.

*sniffle*

That was the weeping. Pretty short, sure, but it was heartfelt.

A year or so later, a sitcom debuted on tv (CBS?) about Dave Barry’s life. Harry Anderson played him. “Dave” lived in a nice house with a wife that was too hot for him. (Soon to become a sitcom staple.) His office was located above his garage and he went to work in his house coat. This had a huge effect on me.

This – along with the fictional Hallowe’en story I wrote in the third grade – really made me want to be a writer. (And possibly to have a wife who is way too hot for me.)

Something else that Dave did affected me too. When he couldn’t find his muse, he messed around on his guitar. So… hot wife. Job as a writer. Playing guitar while working. Yeah, this looked okay.

Now, I am relatively sure that I have no musical abilities at all. Not even a smidge. So, I am not expecting to learn a lot of songs. Maybe just one or two that I can perfect and pull out at the right moments to surprise and impress people.

When I was young, my father told me that when you do something well, stop right there and leave them wanting more. A few years later, Jerry Seinfeld taught the same lesson to George Constanza. If I was shooting hoops in my backyard, my father would be walking by and stop. He’d put his hands up for a pass. When he got the ball, he’d shoot immediately and make the basket. I’d try to give him the ball back and he’d just walked away.

I gotta admit, that is pretty bad ass.

So, if you are keeping score, here are my father’s life lessons:

1) Don’t lie. (It was actually, “I fucking hate liars.”)
2) Don’t steal.
3) Something worth doing is worth doing right.
4) Don’t date girls from Louisdale.
5) Wear a condom.
6) Leave ’em wanting more.

I wonder if #s 5 & 6 can be combined. If you have a particularly impressive outing in the boudoir, refuse to ever see the woman again. The word of mouth on your amazing skills would spread and — Oh wait, dudes do that anyway. Good performance or no.

I am not entirely sure what song(s) I’d like to learn to play. Right now I am leaning towards “Karma Police.”

I’d also dig “The Man Who Sold The World.” And, of course, some Gordon Lightfoot. Maybe David Brent’s “Freelove Freeway.”

You can be absolutely positive it won’t be “American Pie.”

So, I’m going to have to add “used guitar” to my “keep an eye out for” list – along with a “discount” version of Final Draft 7.

Thanks to Dave Barry, we have a boy, a guitar and a dream.

If BOOGIE NIGHTS had come out while I was in university, this could have been a much different story.

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  1. James Cooper says:

    No, no, no. The song that every aspiring rock guitarist learns first is Hotel California. It’s a rule — look it up.

  2. Peter says:

    James: Hotel California is the typical way to go – or Stairway to Heaven, of course – but my friend played that a lot while we were growing up, so I’m over it. I am also considering James’ “Laid.”

  3. treespotter says:

    i’d recommend Champagne Supernova or Betterman. Hotel California is only if you’re my grandfather.

  4. James Cooper says:

    Oh, right! Stairway to Heaven! Somehow I’d managed to forget that one.

    Laid is a fun song too. Really too bad OLGA had to be shut down. During my stint as a guitarist I loved pulling tabs from there.

  5. Kukka-Maria says:

    FYI, my stripper name is Kitty VonWigglebottom. No III, I’m afraid, as my ancestors were notoriously prudish.

    It’s a shame Dave chose to “mess around with his guitar” instead of with his “hot wife.”

    The show would probably still be on the air today, had they thought of that.

  6. Dave says:

    I too have been touched by the guitar bug of late, after listening to Matthew Good’s latest acoustical outing. My dad tried to teach me to play when I was younger, but I didn’t have the patience or digital fortitude.

    But I played a mean euphonium in 7th and 8th grade. For real.

  7. sara says:

    isn’t it ‘elliptically training’?

  8. kario says:

    Might I suggest a Van Halen song? Even if you don’t particularly like the band, you’ve got to admit Eddie has some badass guitar skills.

  9. Peter says:

    treespotter: Betterman is completely stuck in my head now.

    James: OLGA is gone? Is there another good source?

    k-m: I don’t remember it well, but Dave’s friends were annoying enough to cause the cancellation of the show, so he should ahve had fun with the wife while he could.

    Dave: That is awesome. I have never heard of that isntrument in my life. Well, until now.

    Sara: For some reason, I don’t think that sounds nearly as awesome.

    Kario: Welcome! And now I have “Why Can’t This Be Love?” stuck in my head.

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