I cut my finger.
I know as a guy I’m expected to be a wimp when it comes to things like getting the sniffles and other illnesses, but this different. It’s real. And it’s nothing that can be helped by a call from Mom.
(Mind you, it wouldn’t hurt either, Mother…)
So the other day I was cutting this stupid thing with a stupid exacto knife, when the blade slipped and liberated a chunk of left pointer finger skin from the rest of my body. This wouldn’t have been so bad, except that six days later I was expected to play a gig that I had committed to some time ago.
It was almost as bad as when I was circumcised. I had that done when I was an infant, and I couldn’t walk for about a year.
Now this isn’t something as trivial as walking – this is playing the guitar! My raison-d’etre. My one discernible skill. My way of handling social situations.
OK, let’s put this into perspective. As we all know, I’m not that good of a guitar player, so it’s not like we lost a national treasure with me being sidelined for a while. It’s not like Samson, when his wife cut his hair and he lost ALL of his strength. By comparison, this would be like if Samson trimmed his pubes, and lost like five percent muscle mass.
But I had committed to playing this gig, and it really bummed me out because it didn’t look like I was going to be able to play at it.
Worst comes to worst, my playing partner could take all the guitar parts, and I could do all the singing. That would really be a worst-case scenario, since while I do have the voice like an angel; it’s a tone-deaf angel who just got sucked into a jet engine. Plus, having the guitar on my helps hide my ever-expanding belly which I blame on a genetic disposition which results when the number of calories that I consume far outweigh the ones that I burn off. Who knew that there were calories in beer? Apparently, there are even calories in the sixteenth and seventeenth beers of the night so I’m told. Further testing will be done, I can assure you…
Getting back to the story at hand, it would do some good to explain that one man’s deep wound is another man’s paper cut. And, vice versa. Somewhere between the two lay the cut on my left forefinger that I would have to contend with.
The first thing that I did when I got home from the hospital (yes, I went to the hospital because I LOVE waiting five hours for nothing), was to pick up my guitar. I slung it over my shoulder, and tried to teach myself a whole new way of playing every chord. And it worked!!! Before I had cut my finger, all the chords I played sounded…good. And now, they all sound like crap. That’s a new way of playing I suppose.
Dejected, I put the guitar down and went into the other room for some quiet reflection.
When I sobered up, I realized two things: First, I could train myself to play my songs using different fingerings, and Second, you get really drunk when you do fourteen shots just after losing a bunch of blood.
I’m not suggesting that you try it, but do keep it in mind should you be cornered by a vampire (a real one, not one of those whiny-love-story-Twilight-look-at-my-abs type of vampires). Heck, if you’re going to walk the earth for all of time among the eternally damned, it might help to have a bit of a buzz on.
The next day, I grabbed my guitar again and set about to teach myself how to play without using my forefinger.
As an aside, the word forefinger is weird. It sounds like an ancestor to your finger. “Four score and seven years ago, our forefingers brought forth boogers and eye gunk and the smell that happens between the leg and the sac.”
(Like you haven’t done that. Whatever.)
So I set out to re-learn how to play. It was awkward, like a high school boy trying to undo his first bra. (Perhaps he shouldn’t have been wearing it in the first place, said my guidance counselors to my parents.) But in the end, by day 3, I was feeling pretty good that my efforts would pay off, and in combination with my playing partner picking up some of the slack, that we could indeed pull off the gig.
As the week wore on, I felt better and better. Certainly not even close to 100%, but when the day of the gig came, I decided to play despite the limitations, the occasional miscues as I reverted to the old (and painful) way of playing, and the fact that even if I was in perfect health, I’m still not that good!
The gig went on, and although there were a couple of glitches in my playing, they were for the most part covered up by my partner in crime, who seemed to play just a tiny bit louder over the parts that I was struggling with. Thank goodness for Terry!
“So what is the point of all of this rambling?”, asked both people who made it this far in this month’s column (Hi Mom and Dad!).
Well folks, the point is that I now remember what it’s like to be learning the guitar. Having to teach myself a different way of playing chords and progressions felt just as strange as when I first taught myself how to play. This unfortunate adventure reminded me that learning the guitar isn’t something that’s easy, heck if it was, then everyone could do it and then we wouldn’t get all the hot chicks.
So take this as a little reminder to be kind to the people who are coming up after you, because it wasn’t that long ago that we were like that.
Wow, I can’t believe that a cut on the finger instilled humility in me. I am now a humble, humble person.
I wonder how long this will last.
Probably forever, because I’m perfect.