Paying the price for trying to be cool


Everyone has a “thing.”

For some it is being mechanical. For others it is science, or art or sports. For me, that thing is music – specifically playing the guitar.

The guitar has given me immense pleasure. It has given me periods of explosive creativity. It has given me moments in my life that are full of magic and wonder.

It is powerful and lyrical and humbling. Playing the guitar has been one of the great gifts of my life.

Like most guitar players, I can’t have just one … or four. No, I need as many of them as I can get – within reason. I am not a guitar collector, but I do like to have a few available for playing. I currently own five electric guitars and two acoustic guitars.

Now, most guitar players will tell you that is not enough guitars, and they are probably right. But I also own multiple amplifiers and a ton of other gear, so I think I am OK for now.

I added that second acoustic guitar just recently, during a trip to Guitar Center. Now, for musicians, Guitar Center can be a tricky place. It is usually full of hacks playing too loudly on gear they can’t afford. And they generally play poorly too.

Of course, as a guitar player, you have a certain cool factor that can’t be discounted. The guitar is a cool instrument. It is not a flute, or an accordion or even a keyboard. It is something that can (and should) be slung low and wielded like a weapon. It is sexy, and as my inner teenage boy will tell you, girls totally dig guitar players.

So, my wife and I go to check out acoustic guitars. My other one is old and in need of replacing. Once inside, I head to the acoustic room and start playing guitars. I play quite a few, while staff members answer questions and grab new axes for me to try.

Being a guitar player, I of course try to keep it cool. Playing is one thing, but you have to maintain your guitar player cool at all times.

I finally settle on a new Yamaha. Fine instrument and it plays great. As we are checking out, we decide to eye up some other gear as well. So, we again grab a staff member and start examining other stuff around the store.

After about an hour, we are finally ready to leave. We say our goodbyes as I grab the guitar and other things we purchased that day and head to the car. I put the guitar and other items into the back seat, and then take my position behind the wheel. I look to my wife to congratulate her on our job well done, when I notice something.

To my shock and horror, I discover that the zipper on my impossibly cool jeans has been down the entire time. And I don’t mean just a little.

All the way down.

I think back on how I was rocking out just minutes before with one leg up on a chair and I can only imagine the horror of those poor employees.

The reality hit me pretty hard: This was not cool … not cool at all.

It took some time, but I am over this embarrassment. And having that beautiful new guitar to play has certainly helped.

But I think I will steer clear of Guitar Center for a couple of months. I don’t need to give anyone any horrible flashbacks.