All great guitarists, and many not-so-great, name their guitars. B.B. King famously played his “Lucille” and Jerry Garcia had names for his custom masterpieces like “Wolf,” and “Tiger” since that’s what was inlaid in their headstocks. His guitars became incredible musical machines and works of art in his later years. Stevie Ray Vaughn even named his most famous Stratocaster, albeit unimaginatively: “Number 1.” And his red Strat “Lenny.” And what’s left of Willie Nelson’s acoustic is named “Trigger” although “Hunk of scrap wood” might be more appropriate.
So, in kind, I name mine, since my collection is getting to where it should be. Problem is, naming a guitar isn’t as easy as it might seem. It’s like naming anything you care about. It can’t conflict with names of people you’ve come to be, let’s say, indifferent about. And you have to name it something that has meaning. And isn’t lame. Or trendy. Or stupid. That begins to narrow the list considerably.
What I’ve found myself doing, after crossing off the low-hanging fruit like “Jessica,” “Red Molly,” and “Stella Blue” is naming them after girls I personally know. That way I can assign their characteristics to the instrument properly, and it fits. Disclaimer: I’m doing this in fun and with the utmost respect meant for the ladies herein mentioned. And their husbands and special “others.” I think they would agree with me about the positive shared traits between them.
So this guitar is “Hope.” She’s an all-American with a big attitude, bright sound and is perfectly shaped, with stars! She’s also a 2018 Recording King 000 limited edition Bakersfield, which I historically didn’t have any experience with, but couldn’t pass up. I mean, look at the vibrant colors, and the strap is made for it, plus it screams Evil Knevil! It’s one of my favorites and is a blast to play.
This is a financial study just released by Merril Lynch about Baby boomers and their financial standing and comprehension. Baby boomers, mind you, being the generation that should be retiring now en masse. There should be a HUGE transition of wealth they’ve accumulated and saved being moved, withdrawn, spend, gifted, etc… But the reality is that many are still working, many are trying to just find work, and many can’t even get a job, so they’ve found a way to live off taxpayers until…
When you have over 80% of them who don’t even know how much they need to retire, and they’re AT retirement age, that’s pretty bad news. America herself is $21 trillion in debt, largely because of political promises, kicking cans, unforeseen consequences, foreseen and ignored consequences, voter ignorance, and utter irresponsibility. If you look at who grew that amount the most over history it would have been…you guessed it, the baby boomers.
It will be interesting to see how, if any of it, is solved. The government has no money to bail them out. Their kids are the most likely targets, but one look at them and their parent’s financial acumen being hereditary is apparent. I work with no small number of men who are past retirement age, who not only have their grown children living with them, but their family and their grandchildren. And they’re having to work to support them all until… My next door neighbors still have their grown adult child living with them in the basement. It’s not uncommon. It’s a new paradigm in American culture. It’s not a healthy one either. It goes along with the decline of marriage, the steep increase in single parent homes, especially among blacks, and strange multigenerational arrangements that don’t exactly form a strong triangular foundation or mother/father/child.
I had a revelation yesterday, which is something I have with far less frequency as I get older. Through both fortune and misfortune, I’ve been witness to some pretty incredible events, spectacles, and situations. I’ve been part of, and tangential to, many relationships over the past 35 years, give or take a few here and there. I’ve gone through dry romantic periods like most normal people, for various lengths of time, lasting for hours in my more voracious years to nearly two years amid my more temperate. Only the most desperate, self-absorbed and wretched soul needs to be dating someone upon ending a relationship. No one in their right mind or part of any credible professional association recommends it.
But one thing has held true through all the many mostly wonderful relationships I’ve had with ladies (even though I was typically the one who ended the relationships, or they truly did “fizzle out,” I’m happy and grateful to say I’m still fond friends and on good ground with 99.9% of every one of them). I’ve been associated with thousands and thousands of people over the decades, both male and female, who’ve been close friends of mine in some depth and studied and been “involved” in their relationships as well. I’m from a tiny state in the South where everyone knows each other and, at times, it felt like everyone had dated each other at some point. Plenty of old girlfriends ended up marrying, and are still married many, many years later, to my good friends. That’s an awesome thing to be able to state, and I’m remorseful for how poorly I’ve kept in touch. Although having to move several states away for the past ten years on someone else’s behalf played a big part in that damage.
In any case, each time I or a friend or my love interest decided to part ways, it was always in order to move to greener pastures. Whatever made those pastures greener, which usually was pretty evident. For women, men’s social value is typically the most important. That value is determined by a host of factors and people, but all items that would be agreed upon as an (even somewhat) socially redeemable characteristic. The very same characteristics I always put forth when courting a lady, because that’s usually what they seek, whether that’s stated or implied or even wanted to be kept secret. Money, power, fame, physical traits of virility, which of course are more base but valid, success, earning power, countenance, upbringing, family stability, intelligence, security (both physical and otherwise), the promise of bearing healthy children within a functional family environment, and so on. “Mr. Right,” in other words.
Yet it never occurred to me in all these years that there might exist a person who would seek specifically to trade down. Someone who didn’t want intelligence, earning power, chivalry, security, manners or refinement, or any of the virtues listed above. Someone who was inferior intellectually, financially, and irresponsible. Someone who a three-year-old child calls out for being gross because of a disgusting blowing-the-nose-in-the-towel habit. A toddler!
This might seem like a stunning desire. What would cause a person to behave such a way? The answer: someone who doesn’t want to have to answer to anyone. No expectations of them of any sort, and wants simply a brainless, spineless pet to sit in the corner. Someone who only wants their mate to bring the feeling of superiority to the table, and nothing else. Except maybe free childcare and what low level of housekeeping are desired, if any. Someone who asks no questions and is fine being kept both as a type of live-in gigolo and kept in the dark about any of his mate’s despicable past. How long would it take to find such a person with such low standards? Apparently a couple of months.
I never imagined such people existed, but live nearly 50 years, and similar creatures just may ooze and jiggle across your path too.
Rose is a Taylor acoustic, #59, born on Jan. 7, 2003 and is a model 414. She has golden Gotoh tuners, I believe model #SXB510. My aging eyes aren’t good enough to make out the numbers anymore, but these replaced the originals. This guitar was originally in West Virginia, then sold to a strange person in the hills of Kentucky, who I bought it from for a fair price but had to run a gauntlet to retrieve it from the mobile home in the middle of nowhere to give him the money for it and run. I immediately had it set up professionally by Bill Barney here in Louisville, and install a Pure Mini electronic pickup with volume knob. The knob barely peeks out of the sound hole, needs no batteries, plugs into the bottom strap plug, and sounds incredible. Rich and full and everything you’d expect out of an American made Taylor. Even with a strap embroidered with roses and gold leaves. Nothing ornate, but a true American Beauty. The magic is in the details. The binding is immaculate and the neck is effortless to move around. The gold tuners and rich wood grain are sublime.
Floramay is a 1977 Guild D-40 Bluegrass Jubilee acoustic with electric pickups inside and a carefully-chosen Genuine Harris Tweed handmade strap to befit her. She’s a spruce blonde bombshell with a dreadnought body and is the most fun guitar you’ll ever play. A child of the 70’s, she’s grown more lovely with each year and she sounds as sweet as she looks. Mother-of-pearl inlay and a fine patina immediately tell you she’s out of your class. Her tone is impressive, clear and sterling, with a jangle that blends perfectly with Bluegrass jams, fingerpicking solo, or if you want to show off to a crowd and hook her up to an amp. And it just so happens I know a girl named Floramay who is also all of those things. You’ll never forget her.