I never learned to play a musical instrument and have always regretted it. Later in her life, my oldest sister learned the piano and now is a beautiful player who can master the most difficult compositions. However, we were not a musical family. As a third child with much older siblings, I instead was left to fend for myself. I experimented with high voltage electricity, played with matches, fell out of trees, trespassed, and did all the things that overlooked third children do to entertain themselves. Music was not part of the program. Who knows, I might have been a natural, but no one bothered to find out. So, thinking that now was the time to see if I had some sort of heretofore undiscovered savantism, last Christmas I bought myself an electric guitar. I am learning to play, but my hoped-for hidden talent apparently lies elsewhere. There will be no shortcuts for me. If, as Malcolm Gladwell hypothesizes, it takes 10,000 hours of applied effort to become proficient at any endeavor, I am looking at a 27-year learning curve if I practice one hour a night five times a week. Looks like I waited a little too long to get busy with this.
Something else musically interesting is happening in our home. My wife, who spends more time in the car with the kids than I do, has adopted the FM radio tastes of my soon-to-be-teenaged daughter-Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber. I have no idea who these people are. Well, maybe Lady Gaga, and not because of her music but because she goes around wearing a fruit basket on her head. I admit to being a bit of a music snob, so my future wife amazed me in 1987 when I learned that she preferred R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen to Earth, Wind, and Fire and the Gap Band. Clearly, she was an exception to the funk-loving women of her generation and was thus exceptional. Alas, no more.
But while my wife's musical tastes are evolving (I guess), mine seem to be regressing. I can appreciate a fine funky groove, but I like my music two ways: loud and hard. This, however, is a recent development. The bands that were too loud and had too much hair for me in the 1970s are now on the first-team. Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, AC/DC, ZZ Top, even Jethro Tull. Tull is an exception to my guitar preference but I respect that he was able to make the flute a hard rock instrument. He must have watched alot of H.R. Pufnstuf or something.
Last year I bought a Sonos music system for our house. It is the best thing ever. It allows me to stream music from my computer to any Sonos-enabled room in the house. There's just one problem. No one in my house likes my music. When I want to "get the Led out" I have to do it when no one is at home. I'm Peter Brady, having the party that no one attends. Even the dog runs outside. What is happening? Am I turning into a midlife burnout? My wife thinks so. She has become Fergie and I am Jeff Spicoli. Somehow we are making it work.
"Aloha, Mr. Hand!"