The good lady wife is out of town this weekend, at the first ever reunion for her original college, which was sold to the Japanese after her sophomore year. (Oh, 1980s...you were wacky and no mistake.)
Took advantage of the absence to allow the girls to play Rock Band, she not being as fond of music at ear-splitting levels as some of us.
After searching the entire house, we were only able to come up with one drumstick, a shocking event, given that I spent the first half of my life attempting to never be more than a few feet from a drumstick at any moment.
Still, the facts were the facts: there were no other sticks to be found. So I grabbed the youngest and headed to Guitar Center to buy a pair of sticks, the first time I'd done so on this coast—I think the previous time I'd bought sticks was back in 2001, in preparation for my short-lived tenure with Gloria Deluxe, as we hit the road for a half-dozen rapturously received live dates in support of their then-newest LP, Hooker.
I slowly move past the plethora of guitars, each and every one of which seemed to be gazing at me with the saddest of eyes, just begging to be adopted. But I'm steely in my resolve, and we go back into the drums section. A kid asks if he can help, and I explain that I'm just there to buy some sticks, some 5As and, given that they're just for a wii game, the cheapest will do.
He grabs the cheapest and plunks 'em down on the counter. They've got a cardboard band around them, holding them together. I look up at the wall of sticks and notice that they're all already paired, wrapped in either plastic or cardboard.
He looks confused. "Well...yeah."
"Yeah. Have my entire life."
I look at him, effortlessly flaunting his 20 or so years on this planet. And I think back to the ritual of buying new sticks, how you'd ask for, whatever, Vic Firth 5Bs, perhaps, with the nylon tips. And they'd plunk a few dozen sticks down on the counter and you'd slowly roll each one back and forth a few times, to try to find a pair without even a hint of warp. Then you'd tap them against each other, to find the pair that were closest in tone. Sometimes, if you were lucky, you'd find three or four that were just perfect, and you'd feel like you'd found, if not the Holy Grail, at least a damn fine cup buried in the sand.
And this kid has no idea of how it used to be, and thinks I'm senile. And I don't just feel old, I feel ancient and decrepit.