Birthday Money


steve150I recently had a birthday. This isn’t unusual, as I have one almost every year. What made it a milestone is the number associated with it. So whereas I feel healthier and better now than I did when I was 25, it seems to be a big deal that I’m now 40.

Turning 40 was nothing like I imagined. In my head, I’d wake up at 40 and see a minivan in my driveway, have rogaine in my medicine cabinet and have a pez dispenser full of viagara in my nightstand.

Most of those things didn’t happen.

But something kinda cool did. Since 40 is a milestone, some people gave me this thing called “Birthday Money”. Birthday Money isn’t like regular money. Sure, it may look like car payment money, or run to the grocery store to get some carrots or personal lubricant money.

Sidebar: never buy those 2 items at the same time. People talk.

The difference between Birthday Money and regular money is that Birthday Money is specifically given with the intent that you will – nay – you MUST splurge on something that you wouldn’t ordinarily spend your regular money on.

In other words: it’s a pass to buy whatever you want. The only catch is that you have to tell the people who gave you the money what you spent it on. That way, they know that they helped you spoil yourself. You may want to consider that before getting the Mail Order Russian Bride with your newfound wealth.

“Aunt Maude? Hi! You remember the Birthday Money you sent me? Yes, well meet Svetlana! She’s…flexible.”

What a great problem to have, right? Guilt-free money to spend! I could have spent it all on business cards that read “Steve, Director of Awesome”, and no one could have given me grief as long as it was “what I wanted”.

(Shoot, now I kind of wish that I had thought of that one earlier…)

OK, so back to the situation:

You know the scene in Wayne’s World where he looks at the Fender Strat in the shop window and says “It will be mine…oh yes, it will be mine…”? I’m sure that we all have those things that we look at and drool over. Of course, we all have a lot of those things. But, what if the kindness of others made it possible for you to get ONE of those things. Which would it be?

Such was the problem that I was facing. And, what a wonderful problem to have!

The first thing that I needed to do is to determine what I could eliminate right away, due to monetary restrictions. My ‘dream’ guitar is a Les Paul Custom – black with gold frets and mother of pearl inlay. It will be mine…oh yes, it will be mine.

But not yet, because Birthday Money, while wonderful in it’s freedom, is not magical, and since I had hundreds instead of thousands, I had to pass on realizing that dream this time.

Then I had to think about whether to add another guitar to my collection, or go with gear. My brain was acting like a bowl of frosted mini wheats. The kid inside me wanted another guitar. The adult inside me was my proctologist – after all, I am 40 now.

Ewwwwww. Sorry about the visual there.

Try to think of something else now, like puppies or lollipops or double rainbows. Aaaah. Much better.

Here’s the part where I get to the point of this month’s column:

They say that success is where preparation meets opportunity. This goes for anything – from getting a gig on short notice and being able to pull it off because you’ve practiced enough – to getting a bit of money and knowing the best way to spend it because you’ve planned out your gear purchases in advance.

And that’s when it hit me…here I am working with the quintessential guitarists’ website, so I have the most incredible resource here to find the details on anything that I want or need to review. One of the things that I was considering was a wireless setup for my guitar. Within an email to Drew (the editor), I had an answer of the one that he’d recommend. I asked a bunch of other questions too, about different guitars, boards, monitors, and amps. Any question that I asked, he had a very good answer to.

This is what I wanted to share with you all this month. Ask the question, and you’ll get an answer. I don’t mean that in a philosophical way, I mean that in a very practical way. If you’re considering buying gear, ask someone who knows. Ask a friend, ask a guitar tech, and ask here! This site is comprised of professional musicians (plus me!) who understand gear and guitars and are here to help. Just click the “Contact” tab above.

Remember, this is our community – created by musicians, for musicians.

Remember that. And try to forget the proctologist reference from earlier.

There it is again…sorry.


PS I ended up buying a scooter.

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