Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Viking

1983, Ames, Iowa

My Dad said he would get me a guitar or a camera for graduation. I couldn’t decide for the longest time if I wanted to be a rock star or a famous film director.
Having an eight or sixteen millimeter camera would have been great, but it seemed like the best way to get girls was with a guitar.

There was a small guitar shop in Ames that I used to go to quite frequently, just to look at all the acoustic and electric guitars. I don’t think the guy liked me too much there, always looking and never buying anything. Plus the place smelled really bad from his farting all the time, so I guess he was lucky anyone came into his store.

Once I had finally decided on getting a guitar, there was only one real choice in the shop: White Gretsch Viking. I had seen it many times in Neil Young’s Decade album, and he used to play it in Buffalo Springfield. That was it, for a mere $300, with overdrive. I told the farting owner I would be back the next day to get it so my Dad and I went there together to get it. It wasn’t hanging on its hook anymore. I asked the farting guy if he had put it away for me, and he told me that he had sold it right after I left the day before. Lie.

I guess he figured that this guitar was destined to be sold to someone who could really appreciate it, not some novice kid who would get tired of it after a year and leave it to collect dust. No, with reason, the owner knew this guitar needed to be played. Too bad he didn’t know me better or couldn’t see into the future.
I was disappointed but soon got over it, walking out with a blue early 70’s Telecaster for $350.

My first real guitar.

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