Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't Try This At Home, Kids

Three ass-kicking gigs in a row has brought me out of my morass, so I guess I'll stop kicking this dead horse and bury it.

I am by nature an impatient person. One of the things I do to minimize the possibility of encounering potentially frustrating experiences is to plan ahead, and think through as many possible outcomes as I can come up with. Then, if things do go awry, it's not usually my fault. "Unforseen events" don't usually trip my trigger like shortcomings in the performance of others I happen to have to depend upon for one reason or another. Slowness of progress, for instance, I have no problem with (I'm, like, the worlds most laid-back driver: Hardly ever get frustrated with traffic, have only gotten a couple of speeding tickets in my life). However, when I have done my part, and when I have sorted the issues out, and still the project goes south obviously due to the... um... how should I put this diplomatically... "failure of the other party to think through the issues as painstakingly as I did," I can get pretty riled up. Hot under the collar, whatever your choice of apt expression for a total anger-meltdown is. Especially if I have gone to the trouble of providing detailed instructions for, and descriptions of, what I want. Due to my fastidiousness in this area (In addition to intelligent planning; no wife, kids, pets, or girlfriends does wonders for this aspect of my life), I have not had a real blow-my-top experience for a long, long, long, long, looooong time. So long I was beginning to think it would never happen again. Never say never. That streak came to an end this week.

Due to my impatient nature, I could never be a sculptor. With sculpture, you have to get it absolutely, positively, 100% right the first time: Once the bits are chisled off, there's no putting them back on again. With music, no problem: I can go back to an earlier version of a piece, change it, change it back - whatever - as much as I want until I'm happy with the result. I like to rush through a piece to get the basic structure &c. worked out, and then sweat the details later. There are just some things that approach won't work with. One of those things happens to be... guitar repair: I could never be a luthier either. The worst part of this is that I've been aware of that fact for, oh, nigh onto thirty-five years now. There is a good reason for me to never do anything more involved with a guitar that to play it, clean it, and change the strings! I usually won't even do a simple truss rod adjustment on one of my axes. Yeah, I forgot about that.

Without going into the gory details, let it suffice to say that I didn't destroy any of my guitars, but I did ruin a very small, very delicate, and meticulously hand-crafted component of one of my guitars. This wouldn't have happened if, a) all of the work I requested had been done the first time the way I wanted it, and b) I had remembered that I shouldn't take any tool to a guitar other than a peg winder. And now I know that I should never, ever take any kind of a file to any part of a guitar that I don't wish to be utterly and completely destroyed. The next time I'm tempted to take a file to anything on one of my guitars, I'll just pick up a ball peen hammer instead: The same result will be achieved in less than half the time. Or if I'm really impatient, I could just as well place said component on a railroad track.

Now, if I had just taken this particular guitar back to get that one last thing done to it (One of a long list of things, all others of which were done perfectly), it would have only cost me a little time. But nooooooo. Now, it's going to cost me a lot of time and... money (Cue Pink Floyd). Fiddlesticks.

Or, I could just let her work on my guitars. At least it would be fun to watch.


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