Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Humiliation Archives, File #2: Guitar
It appears that any reader to this blog finds great pleasure in the experiences which have brought me deep shame. So I pull yet another file from the humiliation archives, this one being a much more recent occurrence in my life.
And now for the setup: As a young lad, I had once dreamed of donning the flannel and spandex that marked a true rock star. As a fourteen year old, I received my first real axe (rock star speak for guitar... also known as a six-string). And yes, I played it 'till my fingers bled... back in the winter of '92. In the fall of '94 I let my hair grow out... the photo above is a picture of me in the fall of '96. My transformation into rock-stardom was nearly complete.
Then I got married.
Fast forward about twelve years and enter the era of being a husband, dad and pastor. How can I put all that pent-up rock star mojo to use for the good of mankind? Why, play in the worship band at church, of course! And that's what I do. I'm not exaggerating when I say I love to play! God gave me a gift and a guitar, and I intend to use them both.
And that actually leads me to the events detailed in the aforementioned H.A.,F.#2 (I know, that was a lot of setup). It was a Saturday night show (service) sometime in the past couple of years. We were rocking through our set, as usual. Me being a "professional" (volunteer) I had opted out of having the "set list" (service order) on the floor in front me... didn't need it; I had every song memorized and I knew exactly where each one belonged. I did, however, demand (ask for politely) some bottled water, and caviar before the show (worship service)... the caviar never came.
We did our typical opener, then three songs, followed by a video. Once we got to the video, I thought the set was over. I gingerly unstrapped my guitar and hung it on the stand, simultaneously noticing that a young man near the front row had literally collapsed onto the floor (seriously - he passed out). I then went a step further and turned off my amp (which goes to eleven) and my effects processor before rushing off the stage to assist the affirmed youth. The medical staff was already there - tragedy averted. Feeling pretty good about myself, I moseyed on back to the far side of the venue (worship center) where I figured I might take in the rest of the service.
To my surprise, the lights came up and revealed that the band was still on stage minus one guitar player. At this point, you might think that I would realize something had gone horribly wrong, and I was in the wrong place. No. I stood there thinking to myself, "What are those bozos doing on the stage? How embarrassing!"
Then our front man (worship pastor) said something like this: "Hey guys. I know this might be an awkward transition, but we have one more song we'd like to play, but our guitarist appears to have quit the band. I was just hoping he'd come back up here and finish the set with us."
THAT'S when the lights came on in my head, and I remembered the last song we were supposed to play: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2 (it was a cover tune). That's when I had to endure the long lonely walk of loneliness from the back of the worship center to the stage - all eyes on me. The room was quiet, save for one enthusiastic cricket that seemed to mock me in my shame. Upon reaching the stage, I then had to turn on my pedal and my amp. Guitarists know that tube amps take a good twenty seconds, or so, to warm up. So I stood there for twenty seconds, which felt like a thousand world tours... and then timidly played through the last song and finished the set.
The fact that I played the song to near perfection did little to make up for the embarrassment. All I can say is that I was thankful it was a Saturday service.
But then I've said too much.