Thursday, December 03, 2009

How to make sure you always have a guitar pick.

We were all struck by this story when we heard it so many years ago. It evolved, in our household, into the concept of "saturation" - in order to have a pair of scissors when you need one, you simply have to keep buying scissors until everywhere you look, in every room, there's a pair of scissors.

My bandmate Jim Baird wanted to make a note at rehearsal the other day, looked around, and said, "Hey, where's a pencil? Usually wherever I look in this room there's a pencil. ... Oh."

Extracts from
Bill Harley's guitar picks
Heard on NPR's All Things Considered on January 3, 1995

I am in heaven. I just got a package in the mail, one gross of flat picks, 144.

Only if you're a guitar player do you understand. The layperson would equate it with 144 pairs of clean, matching socks in the drawer.

In the past 10 years, I've probably bought 1,000 flat picks, and I don't know where any of them are. Have you seen them? I don't think anyone's stealing them. Flat picks are the bane of my existence, but I have to have them. Without them I'm lost. I can't stand on stage without a flat pick.

There must be at least 500 flat picks lying around my house, but I can't find any of them.

I have a theory, which led me to buy that gross of flat picks. It's scientific. There's no magic. It's based on the second law of thermodynamics. The universe tends towards disorder. It's only natural that a concentration of flat picks should disperse throughout the universe seeking equilibrium. If I have 10 in one place, they're going to move away from each other seeking an absence of flat picks.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and there's a lot of places that have absolutely no flat picks at all. I am only a natural conduit, a hollow reed dispensing flat picks, helping the universe in its inexorable move towards a steady state.

There is a corollary. If I redistribute enough flat picks and they are fairly evenly spaced, then wherever I go, a flat pick will be waiting for me and my guitar. I won't have to be organized and expend energy in the preservation of the concentration of flat picks. I'll be in tune with the universe.

One more thing. My flat picks are yellow medium Tortex. If you find one, don't pick it up. I'll be back for it.


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Jean said...

The guitar picks are going to their own planet similar to where the ballpoint pens go as described in Douglas Adams', Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

"Somewhere in the cosmos along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids, and superintelligent shades of the color blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid lifestyle, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life."
-Douglas Adams


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