It Was The Summer of ’69

I’ve been reading the news. It’s not healthy.

But I have stayed true to the resolutions I made 400 years ago on January 1, but modified it slightly. For those that have no inclination to scroll down, I made 3 resolutions. First was to lose my Thanksgiving & Christmas ham, potato, beer, cheese, beer, chocolate, candy, and beer weight. I have stood on the scale almost every week since then. Progress, right? Second, I resolved to finish projects. Well, believe it or not, Project Garage Mahal is continuing at pace. Week after next, Sarah will take Charlie out of the house to avoid the fumes coming off of an entire garage floor covered in epoxy. It’ll be pretty, and I’ll have plenty of pictures and maybe a concomitant witticism. Third, I resolved to give parity to the Trumpian shitshow in DC and my guitar. I read until my eyes bled, then I played until my fingers bled.

I find it so difficult to peel away. The Donald almost kept the government open for a whole year. So close. He’s so damn crazy that the story of The President of the United States paying hush money to a porn star to keep their sexual dalliances quiet barely made the news. It’s not even particularly interesting that Donald Trump had an(other) affair right after his wife gave birth to his youngest son. I mean, Donald Trump declared that he’d give his wife a week or two to lose all that unattractive pregnancy weight, and this affair was a whole month after that, so what can you say? The Stormy checks out. I mean Story! Story checks out. Silly keyboard.

I got my first real six-string on Christmas morning 1995, so like 5 years ago, right guys? I wasn’t lying about my fingers bleeding. Right at the nail. I literally cannot touch my fretboard without sharp pain shooting through my fingertips up my arms and into my brain with an unmistakable signal that says “Stop Doing That You Idiot!”. If you haven’t played guitar before, you might not recognize step as progress, but it is.

It’s amazing how bad I got. My pinky finger is almost useless. But my fingers remember what to do sometimes before I remember what the song is. It’s really weird. I had the entire intro of a familiar song picked out before I heard Mick’s voice in my head sing “Ayangeh. Aaaaynngieeeah.” Oh yeah. Angie. Thanks Mick.

But I think I’m coming up fast. Just need my fingers back in fretting order, and I’m getting there. I have a habit of trying to learn songs so hopelessly out of my skill range that I discourage myself, but I usually learn a cool riff or three before I decide I need to return to the high-distortion power chord noise of my NOFX listening youth. This week’s version of Dive-Right-Into-It-ness is Zepplin’s version of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.

Morning coffee, morning homework, and all the picks I just found under my chair cushion.

It’s difficult.

Jimmy Page fingerpicked the intro, and I’m not, because come on. I am actually pretty good at fingerpicking since I spent a lot of time with my classical guitar, but this is just an exercise. I’m not opening at the Mercedes Stadium anytime soon, but if I was, that’d be fine because nobody could hear me (that’s a Garth Brooks concert joke. All the best jokes have to be explained). So after fumbling through the first page a couple of times, Sarah asked me why I never played any songs where you strum the guitar. Good question, and that’s mostly because I can’t sing and play guitar at the same time, and because I can’t sing. But I switched from Babe I’m Gonna Leave You to Banana Pancakes. Then to Atlantic City. I love Atlantic City because it’s relatively easy to play, the lyrics are as fun as they are ridiculous, and you get to use your Springsteen voice that you won’t let anyone not bound by blood or marriage ever hear. And sometimes not even then.

They blew up the chicken man.

Josh

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