Thursday, November 17, 2011

Close, But No Cigar

The list of things in my life that need serious attention and/or action is not short.  A sampling of items on my "To Do" list:
  • Scour the house in preparation for the Thanksgiving festivities
  • Participate in activities that will end the existing plutocracy and bring down the filthy rich and their despicable oligarchy
  • Finish building the master bathroom
  • Plant bulbs before the ground freezes
  • Introspect on possible causes of my continued self-destructive behavior and establish a concrete and workable plan for positive life changes
  • Fix the door handle on the Zuke Of Earle so that I don’t have to roll down the window all winter every time I need to get out
With so many matters needing addressing, it’s difficult to prioritize, which is why I’ve chosen to devote every spare moment in the near future to the construction of the one thing truly missing from my life:  a cigar-box guitar.

The cigar-box guitar is - not surprisingly, I suppose - a guitar made out of a cigar box.  As with every project I undertake, my first step was to fire up the googly-tubez for instructions painstakingly research the history of the subject and to discover what relevant knowledge has been gleaned to date.  Much like Ike Newton, after all, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

I’ve assembled the basic necessities, the sine qua nons, if you will - a cigar box, a stick, and tuning pegs:

Above:  Renowned Guitar Virtuoso Buck and Master Carpenter Indy are eager to help!

Sure, there are some additional things that I’ll eventually require – strings, a piezoelectric transducer to turn into an internal microphone and a ¼” jack (much like Dylan at Newport, I’m going electric.  Also much like Dylan, I’ll be booed upon playing, but for entirely different reasons),  some actual woodworking skills, extra cigar boxes and sticks for when I inevitably screw things up – but as for now, I have plenty of beer and lots of power tools, so I’m off to a good start.

I’ll eventually get to those other big projects, probably.  Maybe.  But in all honesty, if I can’t sit down at the end of the day and kick out the jams on my patio with a bottle of Jack and a cigar-box guitar, well, then they really just don’t matter all that much now, do they?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Food For Thought

Well, the local pub that I frequent is doing a seemingly nice thing for the local food bank – for every 16 oz. item of non-perishable food one brings in, (s)he is given a 16 oz. draught beer of any flavor served (limit one per person per day … damnit!).  I write “seemingly” because while, yes, it is providing nourishment for those so unfortunate as to need help during these troubled times, it throws a whole new confusing dimension into the time-honored (and hitherto fail proof) method of introducing one’s self to another: the suave and debonair utterance of the phrase “Howdy!  Can I gitcha a beer?”

It’s irresistible!

Prior to the onset of the food-for-beer program, such a query would have been met with a shy giggle, an acceptance, some light-hearted banter over one drink, then another, followed by a more intimate conversation about each others likes and dislikes, playfully arguing about bands and books, mocking disdain at the other’s appreciation of cats, both trying to hide the giddiness inside at having finally met The One, then a walk home through the beautiful fall foliage, hands nervously clasped (after several awkward brushes of one’s against the other’s), a promise to call the next day (“if that’s okay?”), a quick kiss on the cheek and a quicker turn to hide the redness creeping into one’s owns, and, eventually, a lifetime filled with love and happiness.

Well, no more.  Now it’s “Howdy! Can I gitcha a beer?” followed by immediate and excruciating internal dread and angst.  “Oh my god … oh my GOD!  I only have a can of Progresso soup … and it’s GUMBO!  What the fuck was I thinking?  She’s going to think I’m an asshole.  Why couldn’t I have some beluga caviar?  Or would she think that’s pretentious?  I am tolly SCREWED.  That guy down the bar has pasta!  Angel hair!  I can’t compete with that!  Stupid stupid stupid …”

So thanks, pub.  Thanks for eradicating my dreams of a joyful future.  Thanks for all the lonely tomorrows.  Thanks for feeding the hungry with food seasoned with the salt of my tears.

NOTE:  By the way, if you’re too nervous about approaching strangers and buying them beer with food, you can donate directly to the Idaho Food Bank.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You Can Limit My Words, But Not My Imagination!

Once again, the seasons have cycled, and, as autumn winds down, the much anticipated announcement of the Boise Weekly’s “Fiction 101” writing competition has appeared – a call for submissions of succinct stories, of truncated tales, of prose painstakingly pared to precisely one hundred and one words.  It is an exercise most vexing to the verbose; a bane to those bereft of brevity and curse for those clear of concision.

Choose carefully, one must, one’s adjectives and adverbs and other adjuncts, for the wisdom of words lies not in lavish loquaciousness, but rather in the raw rendering of phrases few but fiery.