“Why are you bothering to learn guitar?  It’s such a passe and silly waste of time.  I mean, you’ll never get any good at it.”

What an obtuse statement.  It was all he could do to contain the disappointment.  It’s surprising, he thought, what people you call friend can sometimes say.

Only a few minutes into practice, he put the guitar down in frustration thinking about the question ‘why bother’.  Why bother doing anything creative?

“Let me ask you a question.  Do you remember what Aristotle said about language?”


“He said language is sound with a meaning.  What do you make of that?”

“That makes sense.”

“It seems about right to me too, until you really think it through.  Now ask yourself, which came first, the sound or the meaning?”

“Well, I guess you’d have to first create the meaning before you create the meaningful sound.”

“I think you’re right.  It’s what goes on inside the mind first that’s the prime mover behind our creative efforts.  So it may turn out that Aristotle, in a sense, had it backwards.  Language is actually meaning with occasional sound.”

“What’s you’re point?”

“I’m answering you’re question.  Our language or higher intelligence, or our ‘third eye’, however you want to describe it, is geared towards the imaginative.  Writers, philosophers, photographers, particle physicists, Lascaux cave painters and yes, amateur guitarists all do what our brains are designed to do:  To liberate our most inspired thoughts.  And if you’re willing to be serious, the world needs more cave artists and particle physicists.  The more the better. People should be free to create in whatever way suits their talents because it’s the essential and inextricable part of being human.”

His friend sat there and deliberated, quietly.  It was a risky quiet.  He knew from experience that friendships, like Italian cruise ships, sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly run aground.

But then the jury of one calmly stood up, walked to the kitchen and grabbed two beers, just cold enough.  On his way back, he picked up the guitar.

“Will you teach me how to play this thing, please?”