Like millions of other people, I've often wondered what it would be like to shut a guitar in the sliding door of my mini van. Well wonder no more, people, because I am here to tell you that, SURPRISE! It's not a fun experience.
Returning home from Phoebe and Liam's stellar performances in their elementary school Christmas/holiday program last Tuesday night, I was astounded at the amount of crapola in my van. It had been accumulating during the holidays, I could clearly see that now. As I moved a large pile of boxes full of unwrapped Christmas presents away from the prying eyes of the rest of my family, I spied my Martin Backpacker Guitar
nestled between the back seats. I had loaded the instrument into my van on Sunday so, as is my annual habit, I would have a guitar to play at the BWD office during the holidays. Why? Because the office is nearly empty, and I can play a song or two while waiting for something to print out, and know that I am disturbing no one. Sort of like Tom Cruise's tube sox and tighty-whities dance in Risky Business,
minus the Ray-Bans. And (at the office) I am normally fully clothed and a foot taller than Mr. Cruise.
Many guitar players do not like the Martin Backpacker because:
a: it does not really look or sound like a normal guitar (unless amplified)
b: it actually looks more like a kayak paddle, but it does not well as one, the sound hole fills up with water.
c: it is physically impossible to play it sitting down, due to the guitar's shape.
Julie bought me this guitar to take along with us on trips. It's designed to be a travel guitar--one that easily fits in the overhead compartment of even the tiniest, gerbil-powered commuter airplane. And when I've taken it to perform at birding festivals, with the right amplification, it's really sounded great. So, Mr. Martin Backpacker, this little weird-shaped box of wood and strings has been a good companion to me on many adventures. He's been all over the United States and to Canada, and Mexico. His birding lifelist is huge.
Back to the fateful night.....
It was going to be really cold that night, and guitars do not like to be below freezing, so I slung Mr. Martin Backpacker (in his travel bag) over my shoulder, picked up my briefcase, the gift boxes, a coffee mug, and grabbed the door handle to shut it. Now this was not the fancy automatic door on my Toyota Sienna that closes slowly and makes a loud beeping noise that says: "Kids, pets, limbs, guitars BEWARE! I am closing and you may be CRUSHED!" It was the old-fashioned pull-and-slam-shut sliding door.
As I yanked the handle and flung the door along its runners to close it, Mr. Backpacker decided to end his life. He slipped forward, just getting his thin, fragile neck between the van's door and door frame.
The crunching sound made me sick. It was several long minutes before I could open up the case to see what I already knew awaited my eyes. A headless Martin.
Why, Mr. Backpacker, why? Was it something I played or sang? Are you jealous of my other dozen guitars? Am I playing too much bass these days? SPEAK TO ME! SHOW ME A SIGN!
Today I am taking Mr. Backpacker to the guitar shop (Marietta's Third Street Music) to see if we can rebuild him. I am prepared to be met with hysterical laughter. If he is unrepairable, I may have to have a funeral pyre for him. That would be sad indeed.
Don't tell Mr. Backpacker, but I hear the new mini-Martins are pretty hot.