COLUMN: Guitar beckons shopper, friends watch

Over the weekend, I went guitar shopping -- but I swear, only to look around. I had no intentions of buying one. For the sake of humanity, I cannot fully describe how much I was not going to buy a guitar.

I was so far removed from buying a guitar. One would have to dial a "1" then the area code to call that state of mind. In fact, the native language is completely different. People even drive on the wrong side of the road there. Man, that place is far away.

I was so dead set on not buying a guitar that I brought along my friend Mike, who is much bigger than me, to serve as a deterrent. He was given explicit instructions to serve as a discouraging force as we looked at guitars.

He was supposed to say things like, "You don't have any money, man," and "You can get that later," and "If you buy that, I will pummel you into oblivion," in an effort to prevent me from purchasing a guitar.

And he was supposed to stand in my way if I attempted to approach the counter with anything priced higher than a dollar.

He did not.

I don't think it's all his fault though. I blame the guitar too, for it tempted me. Seriously, when I was walking around the store, a guitar started talking to me. Here's an excerpt of the conversation:

GUITAR: John...

ME: Hello? Lord?

GUITAR: No, you tool. Over here, with the bright light shining out and the angelic singing voices coming from my sound hole.

ME: Who are you?

GUITAR: I am your destiny.

I walked across the sales floor and approached a wall of guitars. I scanned them and found The One - an Alvarez acoustic/electric cutaway, staring at me, drooling, ready to eat my soul. This fine guitar glowed, pulsated and spoke to me in a thundering voice that sounded like Orson Welles from "Transformers: The Movie."

I picked up the instrument and a chorus of angels sang. I strummed with great rock fury. Seven Spanish angels (at the altar of the sun, just where Ray Charles said they would be) parted the clouds and sent a spotlight down to me and my splendid rockitude.

I realized what I was doing too late. I had let the guitar's beckoning force draw me in close enough to entrance me. I searched the room for Mike and finally saw him - completely across the room, playing Fleetwood Mac songs on a bass.

He doesn't even play bass. Where was he in my darkest hour? Why couldn't he have been there to save me? What mystical power had contorted my already cruel fate?

I stood up and summoned the salesman.

"Salesman!" I boomed. "Package this fine instrument, I intend to purchase it! Quick, boy! I haven't time to waste with your dilly-dallying! I must get to Camelot!"

Mike apparently heard me, because he turned and put his sitar (or whatever he was playing) aside and ran, in slow motion, toward the counter. Meanwhile, the guitar had reached into my back pocket and taken out my wallet. The guitar had my credit card.

Mike, now sprinting but apparently at 10 frames-per-second, screamed, "No" at what sounded like 16 rpm. For those of you who don't know turntable speeds, that's the speed at which you should play Alvin and The Chipmunks.

Mike arrived too late. The guitar had forced me to purchase it and, now packaged, it walked with us to the car and laughed in triumph. The three of us then went back to Mike's and rocked out.

Moral: This holiday season, leave your credit card at home.

Write to John at


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