Black Men With Guitars

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.

6 thoughts on “Black Men With Guitars

  1. Ahem. HENDRIX, for Christ’s sake.

    Also, I don’t know how bad you should feel about getting confused at Borders; somehow the Book Duopoly has managed to take the endless pleasure of book shopping and turn it into a harrowing ordeal that saps the soul and glazes the eyes, and you end up staggering out with a bunch of random books and a beaded string bookmark, and you’re like, what the fuck?

    But hey, at least they have coffee in them, which as we all know, is what book shopping is all about.

  2. Makes you want to beat your head on a wall, doesn’t it?

    Oh–if you’re around at all this weekend, I’m running Refugee Weekend from now til Tuesday, so you’re welcome to stop in and join.

    I have to run–I still have a pair of slippers to finish and 3 things to make. Thank Dog we’re snowed in so no one’s come in for Yule yet and I don’t have to have it all done tomorrow night like I first thought.

  3. Hendrix. Hendrix! Augh! It’s painful! Come ON! Once you get some cash flow, take ‘History of Rock and Roll’ as an audit class at UMBC so you can at least pretend to know something. :P

  4. 1. H-E-N-D-R-I-X. Minus three points.

    2. You gave coffee. Plus three points. “And somewhere in the darkness, the gambler, he broke even.”

    3. Much of rock has roots in reggae (see also: The Clash) so the Marley present would have gone over well.

    4. Borders takes the fun out of books. I don’t know how, exactly, but they do. I prefer to get mine used from Amazon.

  5. Yes, yes, rest assured: from now on I shall always spell “Hendrix” with the appropriate “X.”

    TWM & Jamaila: I actually took “Roots of Rock & Roll” in fall ’06, but that focused more on the jazz/folk roots (with occasional digressions on what it was like to smoke on campus twenty years earlier).

  6. Pingback: Malnurtured Snay » Christmas Wrap Up — Hah, Get It? Wrap? Hah!

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