Falling Off a Log
Copyright © 2003, 2015
My Dad put the guitar in the back seat as I was getting in the car.
"Questions? I got questions! How did this happen? I mean, how do you know @@@@@ and how was he there? How's Mike involved? Why'd I get all this stuff? What's going on?"
"It's complicated. I need to know something from you - really know it - before I can tell you everything."
"W-what do you need to know?"
"How well you can keep something that's private from getting out."
"As private as it gets - something that can affect a whole family. A family that values privacy."
"Us?" I asked, wondering what's so private about us?
"Not us. This whole town. The whole world, for that matter."
"You want me to keep a secret that involves the whole world?" I asked with a surprised smile.
"It doesn't involve anybody. That's the point. People only think they need to know stuff about other people. They have a morbid interest in people like @@@@@. Somebody can make some money if they report every move he makes, every party he goes to, every person he sees. Everything."
"I'm losing you, Dad. I met @@@@@ a few minutes ago. Before that he was my guitar idol. I don't know any secrets about him."
"You were right, too. That was before, Joe. Where you gonna tell people you got that new guitar from?"
"From @@@@@! I still can't believe it. Nobody will!"
"No, Joe. You can do that, but that's not what we want. Mike should already have a banner ready for his window that says you were the lucky winner. Go with that."
"Me, @@@@@ and Mike."
"Winner of what?"
"The guitar contest."
"What guitar contest?"
"The one you won."
"I didn't enter one."
"Yes, you did. You won the guitar and you got to meet @@@@@."
"I can say that?"
"You can, but that's not what we want, either. Joe, I need your promise that you can say nothing. Nothing at all. Not in this town. Not to your brothers, not to your friends, not to your teachers, not to anybody."
I was thoroughly confused, and looked at my father. "What's going on?"
"@@@@@ wants to know you. He wants to hear more of your music. Also, he wanted to thank you for helping his son."
"Who have I ever helped? I only have one real friend, and that's Scott. I don't help people. I'm not even much help to you, I'm such a dufus."
"Joey - you're not a dufus. A klutz, sometimes, a dreamer most of the time. Not a dufus - definitely not a dufus. Me and your mom wonder where you came from sometimes, but the answer is always from heaven. You're not much like anybody in the family, but you're like everybody wrapped up in one, sort of, with your love of music. I never used this word before, but you're a charmer. You remind all of us of all the good parts of the rest of us, and we all love you for it."
I had tears in my eyes - big ones. I always loved my Dad, but never more than right then. He was a freakin’ engineer. He didn't know anything about music beyond what he liked, but he liked Bo Diddley, J.J. Cale, Muddy Waters, Lonnie Mack, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, and so many more of the great musicians that I'd heard through his stereo since I was born. And for whatever reason, he loved Judy Garland . This stuff was so much a part of me that I doubted there was room for another part.
As we pulled into my driveway I asked "So, what do you want?"
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