It certainly wasn't a Gibson Les Paul. In fact, it was just an old acoustic guitar. But when I hauled that long abandoned instrument out of the closet yesterday, I thought of the story of Les Paul, recovering from a near fatal car crash, with an badly broken arm, asking the doctors to set his arm at a right angle so that he could continue to hold a guitar while he healed.
And I figured that, considering I had no broken bones plus I had a couple of hours alone in the house, the least I could do to pay tribute to the legacy Les Paul left behind was to try to play the damn thing.
i had experimented with the old guitar a few months before, after surreptitiously eyeballing it when it had fallen into disfavour by the former guitar student in the house. I had picked it up and plucked a few strings, pressed on the frets a bit, strummed it a few times, and tried to remember some inkling of the lessons I had taken in grade six.
I put it back in the closet after about seven minutes.
But yesterday, it all felt different. Maybe it was the cold drizzle spattering against the living room windows that made lounging back on the futon with a warm guitar in my arms feel so inviting.
Maybe it was the fact that I was holding my prized authentic Elliott Brood guitar pick. That little black plastic triangle, infused with genuine rock star sweat, is such a powerful reminder of both an incredible band that I admire the hell out of and a dear friend who spoils me with thoughtful gifts. You would use an Elliott Brood besweated pick to fuck around on your kid's old guitar? I hear some of you gasp with horror. But I believe that using sacred objects is the best way to honour them. Even the Eames chair is meant to be functional, after all.
Maybe some smidgen of the spirit of Les Paul, floating about in the afterlife, passed over zombie central that afternoon and gave me a prod. All I know is that I messed about and tried a few things on that guitar, and that the pick felt so good, so charged with vibes, between my fingers, that when I finally looked up, I was a little stunned to discover that I had been playing with that guitar for 45 minutes. And I didn't even sound all that excruciatingly horrid.
I do believe a monster may have been created.