To say live music is an integral part of my life is an understatement. Going to concerts is so much a part of my lifestyle that I have a running joke on Facebook, “I don’t go to enough concerts,” a joke I make every time I’m at a show, which is nearly every weekend. Thanks to COVID-19, this can’t happen now. But, to paraphrase the Grateful Dead, the music never stops.
One day, almost on a whim, I picked up an $80 acoustic guitar from a pawn shop near me. I had played on and off since I was sixteen, but I never really took it seriously. That casual relationship resumed once I brought it to the office: I played it a few times, but ultimately, I stashed it in a corner of my office and forgot all about it.
When I found out we would be working remotely, something possessed me to take the guitar home. One evening, after getting done to work, I just felt the urge to play Phish’s “Waste,” a song I had committed to memory several years earlier. I had been witnessing the struggles of my loved ones on Facebook, so I posted a video of my performance. I was astonished by the number of “likes” I received. So I vowed to post a new song every week.
I started out with some other songs I had committed to memory: “Norwegian Wood,” “Blowing in the Wind,” and “Uncle John’s Band.” For me, these were fairly easy to relearn. Then, I decided to expand my comfort zone with more complex tunes, like Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times.” Not easy, but I accomplished it.
After teaching myself a few songs, and a few new chords that went them, I decided to play for a purpose. While I’m childfree by choice, I couldn’t help but feel empathy for those parents trying to homeschool their children. I always struggled with math, so I can’t even comprehend trying to help someone in that subject, even in basic arithmetic. So I learned Jimmy Buffet’s “Math Sucks” to help soothe the frustrations of those parents struggling with math.
Ever since she saw Bohemian Rhapsody, my mother has been obsessed with Queen. I give all due respect to them as musicians, and I like some of their songs, but I’ve never been enough of a fan to pay money for their music. But I decided to learn “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” as a Mother’s Day present to her, which I sent to her phone.
One thing I’ve learned in my relationship with my guitar is that perfection is the enemy of progress. If I were going to be a rock star, it would’ve happened already, so if I simplify some chords or change a lyric or two, it doesn’t matter. The only people listening are my friends, and they won’t (or shouldn’t) judge. So why not loosen up and have some fun with it?
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.