When selecting my cousin Will’s birthday gift, I had a vague notion of what to get him. He’s a big fan of music: in his bedroom, he’s got a record player and stacks of records and CDs. I should’ve paid more attention to the selections when I was up in November for Thanksgiving, but all I could remember when I was pacing the music section of Border’s in Lutherville (a far more convenient location than their previous in Towson) was a trend towards 60s stuff. Alas! No Dylan biography was in stock, neither was “Will You Remember Me When I’m Gone?”, about the Carter family.
Finally, I figured on what I considered a relatively safe bet: a bio of Jimi Hendricks. At least, that’s who I had in mind, but apparently I’d been looking at a book on Bob Marley, too, because that’s the one I found in the bag when I bothered to unpack it the next morning. Whoops. I figured Marley wouldn’t appeal to Will, and here I entirely chalk it up to my general ignorance of music, because reggae didn’t quite seem to mix with the rock/folk I was associating Will’s music taste with. As for taking the Marley book over the Hendricks, I chalked it up to “I’m a stupid white boy who can’t distinguish one black guy with a guitar from the other.”
Unable to yet track down my receipt, I’ve still got the Marley book at home. I went back out to Borders, picked up the Hendricks book, wrapped it while slightly drunk last night, then discovered to my amazement that the Hendricks book was the hit of the gift giving this evening (all the while still feeling stupid enough that I intended to buy a Hendricks book and wound up with a Marley). Even Uncle Bill, who I thought would’ve been digging in to the two-part Churchill bio, was paying more attention to the Hendricks bio, and my dad related a story about how he learned Jimi H. died: a student walked into the room sad, wrote “JIMI HENDRICKS IS DEAD” on the blackboard, then sat down. “Oh, you could tell he was sad Hendricks was dead … but also really proud he was the one to give us all the news.”
But here’s the kicker: when we arrived in Scranton today, the cousins had arrived about forty minutes before us. And what was Will wearing? A black t-shirt that urged “LISTEN TO BOB MARLEY.”
Well. At least I’ve got his Christmas gift for NEXT year.