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Hot Mess Mom » Tuesdays with Gooley » Tuesday with Gooley~~ episode 26

Tuesday with Gooley~~ episode 26

Jukebox Jethro – NOT a hero.


So I bought a six string

At a second hand store

Didn’t know how to play it

But I knew for sure…

…that apparently I’m still in the midst of a midlife crisis and somehow trust that learning guitar will magically transform me into a complete and balanced individual – a perma-smiled and ponytailed happy hippiefreak. I’ll play at coffee houses and street corners – guitar case open for donations.  Just me, my guitar, and a lifetime supply of granola. Oh, Big Balls would be my road manager. It will be fantastic. Life off grid and by the seat of our pants.

That was part and parcel the imagery swirling in my brain when BB and I walked into the used guitar shop. He promised to buy me a guitar and lessons last Christmas. It was my present. I have been avoiding opening that package until now. Avoiding it like the plague.

Truth is…It frightens me. I’m pretty much successful at anything I pour my heart into. I did well in sports – aced my post grad Master’s program – created a successful hippie healer practice – built and beautified many sanctuaries for people to live within and enjoy. I have chops and much comes naturally; except for a ridiculous fear of playing musical instruments. I’ll spare you the grade school imprint that created this. Just let it be known that I’ve wanted to play the guitar my whole life and never had the cojones to actually give it a try. Until now.

There’s no better cure for overcoming fear than jumping in head first and balls deep. I’ve done this with great success in the past. I had a terrible and crippling fear of public speaking. To get over this I took an improv comedy class (shout out to my friend Toby Martini who guided me during this phase of my life). With that bold step, I not only wiped away the fear, but had a blast and learned an amazing skill that I continue to use.

So once again, I take a bold step. I will learn the guitar well enough to play songs and eventually write my own material.

It didn’t help that the acquisition of the guitar wasn’t exactly joyous. BB and I strolled in to the shop expecting happy hippy guitar nymphs to embrace my new found bravery and shepherd me into the wonderful world of music. Instead, we stood around while an old dude in back with a tragic toupee ignored us and a spindly gray haired lady taught an organ lesson to a Stepford wife – neither acknowledged our presence. For 15 minutes we gazed at guitars without a clue.

Finally, gray haired lady finished her lesson and asked if we needed help. I jumped in and awkwardly claimed that I was looking for a starter acoustic guitar and that I knew nothing other than that. She led me to the aisle and showed me a blue one.

I said no.

After some back and forth I looked at a used Yamaha acoustic. It’s a basic entry level guitar that looks pretty much like I imagined it should. I strummed it a few times and held it like a rock star pretending I knew what I was doing. I did not- but it felt right so I gave it the thumbs up. So far so good.

Then, she thought it would be helpful to teach me a chord. Just one – an “a” chord. She showed me while BB watched. It looked easy enough. Until I attempted to bend my stubby knubby fat fingers as instructed. They would not cooperate.

Then anorexic Janet Reno got all up in my grill and shamed me like a dried up Nun with a cross to bear. All over a fucking A chord I could not manage to figure out.

Meanwhile BB is in hysterics.

Eventually she took her clammy wrinkly hands and forced my fingers into position and told me to strum. It was more of a snarl. I strummed. I then fantasized about pulling off a full scale Nirvanaesque guitar smash over her nasty humpback. My ego was too deflated, so instead, I hung my head in shame while BB bought the damn thing – along with a tuner, case, pick and grade school learning manual. Gee wiz.

I’m a prepubescent dufus embarking on my own ridiculous version of band camp at age 43. It’s wildly uncomfortable. And I WILL NOT give up – as much as I want to. Fucking commitment.

It didn’t help that she complimented my “father” for being so generous as we left the store; the guitar case slung over my shoulder and my head slung low to the ground. BB giggled and I shot him a look of disdain.

I’ve already practiced a few times. It’s pushing all of my buttons. I persist anyway.  I’m on page 15 of the kindergarten level beginner book complete with cartoons and large font. My fingers and wrists don’t do what the book suggests. It’s painful. I swallow, more like choke, on my pride and simply follow the lesson manual anyway.

BB looks over his glasses and continues to giggle.

Welcome to my pain. I will LOVE this someday. For now it’s literally like getting repeatedly smashed in the face with balls of moldy cheese.

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Filed under: Tuesdays with Gooley



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15 Responses to "Tuesday with Gooley~~ episode 26"

  1. peepingwooter says:

    BB looks old enough to be your father? Just start calling him old man when he starts to giggle at you.

  2. joe dee says:

    I am dying here laughing gooley! count down to Gooley learning stairway to heaven in 3, 2, 1…. 🙂

  3. guitar hero says:

    You are not alone. I tried for two seconds to learn a chord and it wasn’t happening. My ten year old daughter plays way better than I ever will and thats fine with me. I had visions of playing an acoustic at the local bar while our friends casually sang along. The jukebox will have to do.

  4. Jana says:

    I, too, have wanted to play the guitar for a very long time. Got one for Christmas, along with beginner book and DVD. My finger tips hurt for what seemed like months. I wish I could say I am a guitar wizzard now, but I gave up. You have inspired me to start again. Good luck. Wish I lived closer to hear you play your first coffee house gig.

  5. karrie says:

    Keep at it! …from a guitar quitter in my teen years. Hurt my fingers and I had to cut my finger nails!! Gasp! Ha ha those songs I practiced still play in my head. But the chords- oh my the chords. I don’t know how humans can move their fingers like that. Make sure you watch that Guitar Hero Southpark episode, after you learn a bit more. It’s funny.

  6. Gooley says:

    It is epicly frustrating and humbling. It’s not rocket science but at this moment feel like I have a crack at rocket science. The guitar… Has me by the nutsack.

  7. Ann says:

    I’ll play tambourine and Harmonica with you on guitar. I play a mean Harp! (insert jokes about suck and blow here). I’m pretty tone deaf, so we’ll make a great team. The more shots we do, the better we’ll sound.

  8. NicNap says:

    Hysterically laughing! I love the way you began attacking her hands and wrinkles! The visuals had me right there with you! Just begin learning Smelly Cat and eventually ole gray wrinkleknubs will come around~ bahahaha!

  9. Gooley says:

    Holy shit Nic! It’s a running joke with BB. I am the male Phoebe. And every time I break out the axe he sings “smelly cat, smelly cat , what are they feeding you .”

  10. Toby says:

    Woot. Shouted out!
    And yes, everyone should go take an Improv class immediately. Change your perspective on what you can and cannot do. Lose fear!

    Jimbo, not sure if I had told you I recently bought a guitar after not playing for… well, um over 20 years. (Oldness!)
    Yah, it’s a struggle to fumble for chords and arrange your fingers in such awkward positions. Painful sometimes, nerve-wracking usually.
    But the call to challenge the arcane mysteries of music is strong. It’s weird that we can do so many things, but music seems like an alien magic.

    Let’s Skype and strum.

    Love ya, my brother!

    You should probably never use the words “smashed in the face with balls of…” anything, ever. Really.
    Invite clichê much? 🙂

  11. Gooley says:

    Major Toby love… That is all 🙂

  12. Toby says:


    Can you add something like Subscribe to Comments here?

    Then we’d get pinged to come back when people engage in a conversation. You know, somehow life gets in the way of us remembering to come back and see if anyone commented back on something.

    I might even comment on YOUR entries!

    Much love.

    1. Hot Mess Mom says:

      ha! i’ll ask my web goddess… 😉

  13. Scottie says:

    I happen to be having a guitar that was left to me by my dead ex-husband restrung & tuned so that I can embark on the same journey at present. I have trigger finger sometimes so I am certain it will prove to be most difficult to learn OR I will create a sound all my own. Who in the hell knows? Good luck & see you in a couple of days!!

  14. StylinMom says:

    OMG I am just dying laughing here…and I have thought about taking guitar up…hmm maybe NOT! lol
    Keep at it, you will be fab!

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