*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine November 2018
Ever been swindled? Tricked? Played the fool? Are you the person who gets sucked into taking in the stray cat, and then the cat costs you $400 for meds? Do you go on dozens of job interviews, finally get the job you’ve always wanted, and then find out your boss is a jerk? Or, spend months auditioning a new member for your band, finally decide on one, and then find out the guy’s got stage freight and can’t move a muscle when it’s show time?
Little things like this happen to us all the time. I think the purpose of getting tricked and swindled is so the universe can teach us lessons we’ll never forget. So, like what The Who says, “I won’t get fooled again.” Of course some us choose not to take the little lessons to heart and keep making the same mistakes over and over again, and that’s fine, they make good stories.
At a recent acoustic gig apparently I was hustled, without even knowing it, but that’s the point I guess. A nice gentleman approached me and said he had a specialty guitar with him and would love to play it for the owners of the venue because they’d been waiting to hear it. Poor little innocent me said sure you can play it on my break. Break time came and he again approached me this time with an ordinary, beat up looking six-string. He said, “I’m going to start with the six-string, and can you adjust the mic stand up a bit? I sing better when I’m standing.”
Taken aback and slightly confused I said, “Oh you’re singing too? Where’s the other guitar? What is this? Who are you?”
Then as if on cue, the bartender started yelling all sorts of things at the guy ranging from “You lied to us! You’re not friends with her!” To, “Get outa my bar!”
I guess the guy had been trying to hustle his way onto stage for the past week, and was just about there, until the jig was up. With me.
Truth be told, I am a sucker when it comes to people wanting to sit in or play a song or two during my shows. It’s called “playing nice” and “having a fellowship” and being part of a “musical community.” It gives me a break and gives someone else a chance to show what they can do, preferably in front of the venue owner. Usually, I know the person and can vouch for their musicianship and character. I have never had a problem with this and happy to do it, as most of us musicians are.
But silly me, no longer a young grasshopper but obviously hadn’t been taught good enough lessons yet, I wasn’t prepared for such an onslaught. The obvious hadn’t sunk in, such as, “DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS!” or “DON’T LET PEOPLE ON STAGE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN YOUR LIFE,” or worst yet, “DON’T LET WEIRD GUYS IN BARS TAKE OVER YOUR SOUND SYSTEM,” that sort of thing.
As I retold the story outside the bar on my break to anyone who would listen, a girl with long brown hair and fiery eyes simply said, “You were HOODWINKED!” and she winked. How cute.
I do like the word though.
On a side note, Happy Thanksgiving! Remember you are what you eat.
I wrote a book about this stuff! “They Made Me Play a Polka” is available here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1725534584/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0