"DON'T BREAK THAT!" We've heard that phrase before. It's summer time, you and your family are at the pool, and somebody brought a guitar. The resident musician just put it down to get a soda and walk around like a rock star, and you're the one sitting four feet away from it. You barely moved to pick up your cellphone or to talk to someone, but from the other side of the pool, "Mr./Mrs. Rock Star" seems to think you're going to break it. So what's the big deal?
Sadly, musicians tend to fear for their instruments more than anything else in the world. But to counter that, they are the most likely to break their own instruments through making mistakes. While it's always sad to break your instrument, musicians tend to laugh the most when it happens. Here are a few short stories about those "Rock Stars" and their clumsy adventures.
High School Homecoming Parade, Carroll County, a cool, brisk fall Saturday. A student hoping to look cool brings his guitar and hops into the back of a pick-up truck. As the parade winds down towards the school, he plays music in front of the judges and for all the pretty girls. Everyone laughs and sings along. After passing the judges, he puts the guitar down gently in the back of the truck and starts shouting to friends and having a great time after a stellar performance. Getting tired, he sits down... on the guitar.
The family is out at the pool, and mom has been requested to play some music nearby while they all take a break from splashing around. The children are laughing at a particularly funny song, and it's time for everyone to get some ice cream. Mom leans the guitar against her lawn chair, and then gets up. The guitar pushes over the lawn chair but manages to stay on top and does not hit the ground. Mom shrugs, starts walking away, and behind her, the guitar slides off of the plastic chair and directly into the pool... splash.
At a local venue in Westminster, a gentleman is out with a few friends playing for a small crowd. The show is going well, covers of Eric Clapton fusing with the Beatles, a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, the sound of Lynyrd Skynard calling out the door for more people to come in and enjoy. Excited, he begins to dance while he sings, his trusty acoustic guitar bouncing gently against his stomach. At the climax of a particularly popular song, he twirls around to the clapping of his fans... and smashes the neck of the guitar into the microphone. Two birds with one stone.
Thinking quickly, a girl grabs her guitar and goes outside to practice and sing while her neighborhood friends come to hang out. A quick suggestion from her best friend and they all climb up into their favorite tree. Her guitar, a birthday present, is carefully handed up to her. Excited for their new experiment, she finds the chords, strums the guitar once, and loses her balance. Her friends catch her and keep her safe, while her guitar is grabbed out of the air. Scared that the guitar could be broken, she decided to climb down and turns to hand the guitar to one of her friends while beginning the descent. Her friend hasn't reached out for the guitar when she lets go. A short fall, a few bounces and a twang from a broken string later...
After a great performance for some friends of mine, I took my lovely guitar, put it in its case, and hung out with some visitors for a few minutes. Sensing that it was time to go, I picked up the case, then realized too late that i'd forgotten to set the latches...
As you can see, I would never make fun of other people if I hadn't done the same thing myself. The guitar is a great thing to bring anywhere, everyone loves music. But climbing into a tree with it, dancing around at a show, using the guitar as a cushion, or trying to make a boat out of it in a pool tend to make the music disappear. So the next time your "rock star" friend or family member freak out about their guitar, smile a little bit. They're more afraid of breaking it than you are, because they probably will.