Yes, you read that headline correctly. It’s half music and half something you’d see on a sports page. You see, I’m in a band, and we try to practice once a week. We’re working with a new guitar player, and it’s really working out well. I really look forward to practice. But last month, it’s a good thing we weren’t on a world tour or something. I guess this is what happens when you try to play in a band when you’re over 40.
You know, a long time ago I heard a report on the radio - a story concerning one of the Rolling Stones’ concert tours (somewhere around the Tattoo You album) that has always stuck in my mind. There was this report that the band was sequestered somewhere on a farm or ranch, months before the start of the tour, “getting ready.” Mick was reportedly running 10 miles a day. God knows what Keith was doing, maybe getting a blood transfusion. Anyway, as I get older, I do see the value in “getting ready.” You see, the phone call from our new bandmate late Monday went something like this. “Uh, I really can’t make band practice today, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I suffered a muscle pull over the weekend, and it really hurts to sing. I thought I would be better by today, but I’m not. Can we try practicing on Wednesday?”
What a coincidence. You see, when our new guitar player was sidelined with a pulled muscle this last weekend, do you know what the trusty mandolin player was doing? That’s right, renting a jackhammer, for the first time. You see, I needed to break up some concrete, and the sledgehammer method just wasn’t working. So a few days ago I saw this guy working across the street from the office, right in front of the Wine Sellers. It turned out to be Pete Wagner “the Concrete Guy.” He had a big electric jackhammer, and a pickup truck to haul the stuff away. So we got to talking, and he assessed my situation, and proceeded to convince me that, yes, Jim, you can go to the rental store and get one of these babies, and get that job done, yourself. So I did, and that’s how I decided to spend my Saturday. But first, I put on all the safety gear – gloves, hearing protection, dust protection, and eye protection.
I couldn’t see because of the sweat/fog build-up on the plastic goggles and my glasses, I couldn’t breathe that great through the mask, and I couldn’t hear anything outside of the actual jackhammer. Perfect. But I did remove those two concrete footings. And I did it within a 3 hour time period, which cut the rental cost in half. So far, so good. I needed to take a few rests during the ordeal, but overall, I felt pretty good. Except for the blisters on my thumbs. Didn’t I wear gloves? Oh well, with some band-aids, I’ll be able to go to band practice. And then came Sunday.
I couldn’t move. My whole left side locked up. My first thought was, darn, I might have to reschedule band practice. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to sit down. I didn’t want to know what playing a mandolin would feel like. My girlfriend recommended “stretching.” (Oh yeah, stretching, yes, stretch before working out – I think the Rolling Stones did that). Also, take ibuprofen. Yes, medication. Good idea. A short time later, I was feeling ok enough to go to breakfast. And a few hours later, I was actually back on the job, trying to complete Phase II of “the garage project.” But in the back of my mind, I was wondering – maybe I should postpone band practice for a day, to make sure I’m all healed up.
It’s Monday. You know, the blisters on my hands are still there, and they’re still kind of sore. But I can walk. My body is a little sore, but I still could have gone to band practice. But deep down inside, I’m glad we’ve moved band practice up a few days.
Besides, I’m sure the Rolling Stones had weeks like this.