For Christmas last year I came upon the perfect gift for S.B.: a bright red Fender electric guitar. I bought it for him because:
1. He has the patience, the smarts, and the heart to devote himself to learning this art, and;
2. I was hoping that within only a few short months of practice he would end up sounding totally edgy and cool, sort of like Robert Fripp circa Scary Monsters, and would immediately get together a totally edgy/cool band, quit his day job, and he, I, and the dogs would embark on a worldwide tour bringing edgy/cool music to the masses. A Kurt and Courtney for the New Millennium, only older and without the love child and all the drugs.
But five months later, S.B. is still learning. And not because he's not musical. But because learning to play the guitar is hard! Christ on a cracker, how does anyone learn this instrument? S.B. explained to me how he's methodically working his way through guitar theory and chords and notes and all that and I swear, my brain just fogged over like it used to do in Algebra class when all I heard come out of the teacher's mouth was Charlie Brown's parents.
I have no doubt that S.B. will eventually have complete mastery over his instrument. Because he's way smart and way patient – he hasn't missed a day of practice since Christmas. But I have just come to the stunning realization that I myself will never be a musician. About as far as I might get is learning the keyboards. I know how to read music and can find middle C and the rest is just a matter of memorization and practice. But the guitar? I'll never be able to form my fingers into some of those punishing chord positions. Never mind eventually doing it without peeking. Soon, S.B. will be able to pound out power chords with the giddy elan of an '80's hair band while I will forever be doomed to regaling the dogs with various stilted versions of Gary Numan's "Cars."