The Block Island Times

Books are cool, so are guitars!

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Jan 06, 2013

In the '60s, if you were a skinny, geeky kind of teenage guy, a book could be your ticket into a conversation with a cute girl. A copy of Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger could give a guy some serious street cred with the ladies. This happened countless times in my observations of goofy guys hanging with cute girls. I was not that guy; I was just the skinny, goofy kid; no lady callers for me. The closest thing I did for this thing called reading, was absconding a copy of Playboy from a local drugstore; to ya know, read the articles.

Then I discovered the guitar as a way to breach the gap to the fairer sex. In short order, three chords were cobbled together, the song Oh Donna by Richie Valens was learned, and as quick as you can say, "Oh Dah-a-nah, oh Dah-a-na," the goofy guy was rigging up the semblance of an identity. Hey, it was a start, right. Many goofy, skinny American males can identify with the profound and keen observations, aforementioned. Right guys!

On the other hand, you could be the most handsome athletic teenager with: sensuous good looks, the right clothes, perfect teeth and eye color, and never a bad haircut, ever, and be as dumb as a pound of minnows, carrying no book whatsoever, and you could still have scads of girls gazing dizzily at you. As we know in life irony abounds; it's a complex world. But, as it turns out, books and guitars can make somewhat of an even playing field. It did for me anyway; thank heavens!

A couple of days ago I was raving to Chief Vin Carlone about Bruce Springsteen's new biography. The Chief is an avid guitar player, so I said I'd lend him my copy after a co-worker, Joel Kenneway finishes it.(The Chief's son and my son played guitars when they were in Junior High School). So, I got to telling him how I was using my iPhone as a reference guide to reading about the "Boss." I've got to say, it is a very cool way to read a book. I'd read about a song of Bruce's that I like; bang, Youtube, video/song, brilliant!!! The Chief said he is going to flip me a Hendrix biography, which he said was very well written. I'll do the same iPhone drill with that book. It takes reading to another dimension. Very cool huh!?

So, from a former skinny, goofy teen, I evolved into an avid reader and a hack guitar player, plus I got the girl! So there is hope, for all the young guys that may've stumbled into this blog site. Now for all of you young dudes out there, here's a little pearl of wisdom from old man Houlihan, (some students must've called me that, I'm sure), When Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen was a skinny, goofy teen, he didn't read books(he sure does now), but his mom bought him a Kent guitar, he learned some songs, and look what happened to him. Finally, I'll bet my nickles that Bruce also uses his iPhone as a  reference, for when he's reading say, Eric Clapton's biography, or maybe even his own for that matter (we're both 63), as our memory sometimes slips a cog as we get a bit older.


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