Father Time is a jerk.
My brother-in-law turned 50 recently, and we had a big party for him. In the middle of it, we roasted him. And what a roast it was! We made jokes at his expense, and he laughed so hard that he may have actually pooped just a little.
But even as I was watching his reactions, I couldn’t help but notice something. Here was my bro, my friend, my guitar playing partner, and quite possibly one of the coolest cats that I know, running his fingers through his…head…and reminiscing about what it was like before he was on a first name basis with his proctologist. (Dr. Johnny Bigfinger I believe.)
As good natured as the ribbing was, I started to get a little freaked out by it. Not by the insults (he’s fat too) but the whole aging thing and what it might do to my ability to play.
Aging first freaked me out when I had an older friend tell me that the arthritis in his fingers prevented him from playing the guitar in his retirement. This made me sad… until he gave me his guitar. Then I tried to convince him that he had arthritis in his wallet, and he should give me his money. That did not work, and I didn’t see him again.
If I’m ever left unable to play the guitar because of a physical ailment, I’ve left strict instructions to my loved ones to take me to the very top of the
Not to jump, mind you, I just really like bridges. (Jeff may be my favourite.)
Anyway, since the party night, I’ve been trying to find ways to elude Father Time, thereby extending my playing years and making it vaguely possible that one day I’ll be able to finish learning Stairway to Heaven.
First, I started eating more sensible lunches, which only made me grumpy and want to have supper at 4:00 in the afternoon…which is medically proven to be 2 definite signs of aging.
Next I tried to get more sleep, but any attempts to take naps were rudely interrupted by the 3 jerks sitting near me. I tell you, that’s the last time I drive them anywhere!
So, dejected that there is no way to stop the constant marching of that sadistic bastard Father Time, I went home to play the guitar. After a while of playing the songs that I play now to ‘brush up the chops’, I started playing songs that I haven’t played in years.
These were songs that I had learned a long time ago…before the minivan made it’s appearance in my driveway…before the sudden appearance of my second chin…back when Saturday night was alright for fighting. Suddenly, I was brought back there!
I don’t know how it happens, or why, but once you start to play songs that you haven’t played in years, you get brought back to those years. Suddenly, I was back in my old townhouse, figuring out how to play “Turn the Page” while my ever patient girlfriend (who later became Mrs. Steve) reminded me that there are other rooms in the house to practice in. And besides, other people may need to use the washroom. (FYI…great acoustics in there…and if you time it just right, you can provide your own percussion…)
Ok, perhaps I’ve said too much, but the fact is that I wasn’t just reminded of that time. I went there. I travelled on the wings of a song that I hadn’t played in a while. And one song led to another. Another memory, another feeling. Another time that I spent so long playing in my acoustic chamber that my legs fell asleep…
And now for the coolest part of this whole journey:
Have you ever heard that expression “If I knew then what I know now…”?
I was able to take some of the things that I’ve learned in the years since learning these songs, and upgrade the way I play them. Sort of a ‘Song 2.0’ based on increased practice and skill. And this is where it all comes full circle. I’ve broken out of a funk – both emotionally and playing-wise by going back in the vault and dusting off some old tunes to play. I no longer feel like aging is necessarily a bad thing – it just gives us a lot of experience that we can draw from when we need a boost.
And all of this can be done through a quick run-through of “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” or something equally powerful.
Get back to your roots, and you can send Father Time packing again.
Hurry, before he makes your ass all saggy and gross.
To find out more about Steve, click HERE