Tales of Inexperience

Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson.
—Vernon Law



his collection is based on the notion that people under thirty have a knack for acting unflinchingly to fit the description (and I mean this in a good way) "young and stupid."

Bear with me, reader, I mean no offense. Perhaps you are under thirty. You're not a dumb kid, right? Of course not. OK; being under thirty, does NOT mean being stupid. But there's no way around the fact that generally, being under thirty means being of limited experience. We haven't fully benefitted from the invisible hand that teaches us life, enables us to survive.

So if it helps, take these stories with a grain of salt. But later, remember: no matter how experienced you are in your twenties, (and I allow it may be considerable), you will in a few years concede the argument back. Take my word for it.

Now, the good news: it's supposed to be this way. It's your right. In fact, it's your obligation. So just relax and enjoy the ride.

I know I did. Spending that marvelous decade as a barroom musician, I am today blessed with these stories. They happened during the smoky, beer-soaked days of the late '70's and early 80's. All but one occurred while playing in my first professional band, Charlottesville Virginia's Sitting Ducks.

My original intent was to present these vignettes at face value, and along the way toss in a large dollop about the ways and means of beginning a musical career.

But to my surprise, the writing process illuminated the stories. I stumbled headlong into new territory, mostly involving the thoughts and lives of the motley characters inhabiting my early years.

These veteran musicians were in different ways struggling with the wear and tear the music business imposes upon its subjects, years before the very same issues would bring me to my own fork in the road.

Suddenly, in tales I'd told countless times at parties and such, was real, focused, poignant meaning. Time had gradually, furtively enhanced my perceptions. Dropped in my lap was the pleasure of watching the familiar stories unfold in ways I'd never realized.

Thankfully, it didn't mean crossing a threshold from which there was no return—it's still a simple matter for me to relive the memories through the soft focus of their original innocence. And definitely more fun.

As it will be for you. Later, when you invariably sift through your own tales, enjoy the deeper layers. They are surely there, lurking. But bring those rose-colored glasses too. That way, if things seem a little too serious you can always snap them on, and let that youthful innocence wash over the insight of your hard-won experience, and re-polish those memories to a bright shine.

That is, unless you're currently living those days. In that case you'll be wondering "What's the big deal? That was nothing compared to what happened to me last weekend…"

NEXT ...Kurt's Mardi Gras Parade

Introduction | Kurt's Mardi Gras Parade | Frankly, 'Poe's'... | Big Nick | Go Ahead. Shoot The Piano Player(s). | "Stormy Weather" | The Drive From Baltimore | The Hat

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© 1998 by Brian S. Alpert. All rights reserved.