2013-07-21 – I’ve been trying to find time to play my guitar recently. I had let this go for a few months. No time for anything but work. But a couple of months ago, I visited my mom at her assisted living home. While I was there, the folks were entertained by a pianist-singer. I thought then that, when I get to be my mom’s age, I don’t want to be in the audience. I want to be the one playing the instrument and singing.
Now, I don’t mean that I expect to be a performer. I’ve played the piano for over 50 years and guitar for over 40. But I’ve never been stage material. I just like to do it.
One of the factors that has kept me from becoming a performer (other than my level of talent) is the fact that I seem to be able to retain five songs in memory at any one time. So if I want to learn a sixth song, I have to forget one of the current five. Once in a while I can get up to six, but I have to be very diligent in practicing. If I slack off, it can drop to four, or even three. Retaining words in memory is even harder than retaining the music.
Regardless of the number of songs I know, one of my goals is to be able to continue playing well into my senility.
Another goal is to be able to tell jokes.
Now, by “telling jokes,” I don’t mean the ability to recite a canned story from a joke book. I’ve never been good at that. The closet I come to that skill is to repeat stories like the one I just told you about my musical memory. For me, joke telling is more improvisational. They emerge from the situation. It’s the ability to see the humor in life and to comment on it and share a laugh.
If I were ever to found a religion, my rituals would be centered around songs and jokes.