Daddy warned me about love: Son, don’t let your eyes take you on a trip your body can’t handle. I should have listened. Instead, I fell in love with all five of them, even took ˜em home with me. Life has not been the same since.
Ah, love, yes. But too many lovers? Short-term euphoria, long-term endurance. No liberal, understanding spouse would approve of such folly. Besides, my five companions are wound tight, high strung clingers. Music is addictive.
My first fling with music was in 1954. With a piano. I was 12. It was sort of an ˜arranged marriage’ you might say. My mother and devious great aunt Kate hooked me up with the Chickering kid, a tall, upright beauty with a mahogany tan. Not a top-of-the line pedigree, but hey, all lovers start somewhere. Beginners can’t be picky.
It was not love at first sight. We eyed each other suspiciously. But electricity flowed through my body when my fingers tickled her ivories. Imagining the possibilities sent hot blood through my veins. Plus, Lady Chickering had class. She chilled all affection I had with my cute cousin, which made the family breathe a sigh of relief.
I always thought of myself as a lover, though I at the time had little experience in the intimacy of relationships. I had gleaned some pointers on love by occasionally sleeping with my dog. I was certain that being a lover often meant getting fleas. I hoped the piano affair would change this perception.
Our affair began slowly. Only fools test the waters with both feet, so I moved in cautiously. But a serious affair began, and we became passionate lovers.
Over the years, recitals were made to multitudes of cheering fans, mostly stressed-out, sleep-deprived parents of other piano students. They were forced to endure the butchery of Rachmaninov’s Concerto in C# Minor and a fugue or two from Bach.
But we moved on from those small beginnings to the big leagues¦the college band, The Shades. We rocked out in dark dens reeking of stale beer and cigarette carcinogens. Our one TV stint, Stars of Tomorrow, was brief, but we twinkled out.
Discipline comes in spurts, vices are habitual. I searched for more lovers. I had a brief romance with a trumpet when in ROTC. It was not a serious affair. I used the poor lover simply to get out of having to stand at parade rest for hours with a rifle. I didn’t even kiss it goodbye.
Lust gravitates to money. A guitar, the gold-brick road to fame and riches. The ultimate in self-expression, the scapegoat for lurid tattoos, long hair and all-night debauchery. What’s not to love? The Gibson and I joined Lady Chickering and the stringed harem began to grow.
Alas, eyes wander with age. The violin captured my heart. Illusions of importance pictured me in the first chair, strings of my violin melting the hearts of audiences to rapturous applause and encores. We fell in love immediately.
But heaven frowns on quickie, one-night delusions. The violin is a jealous and unforgiving lover, demanding perfection. Miss a note and reap the maestro’s whirlwind. A violin is like a beautiful woman: fun to play, impossible to master. Mine morphed into a fiddle. Bluegrass is not pretentious.
One day in the music store a banjo winked at me. I asked it, Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again? We hit it off immediately and so began a tortuous but torrid affair. Five strings can entice a man down dark back alleys and destroy all inhibitions. I followed it everywhere, until I met the dobro.
How many times can a man fall in love? Head over heels this time, surely the be all, end all of affairs. The steel slide in my hand makes mournful, erogenous sounds in the darkness of my bedroom-converted conservatory. Heaven is close by.
Lovers are insanely jealous. Each craves my attention, all the time. Me, me, me I hear, day and night. It’s a hellish torture. Who tonight? I can’t decide. A curse. Lovers are easy to marry, difficult to divorce. Too late I learn this.
Today I’m praying for deliverance even while contemplating amour with a trombone. Music lovers are incorrigible.
Plato stressed: Moderatio in omnibres, Dad, please repeat your advice!
Editor’s Notes: Visit Bud’s blog and enjoy his vast collection of musings at theweaklypost.com. He can also be reached by email: BudHearn@mindspring.com