Gee-tar One

I love playing guitar. I’m not great at it, but I’m OK. I started playing when I was about 14. You’d think after 45 years I should have some proficiency, but, truth be told, there was a very, very long period of time when my instrument sat, unused and forgotten, in a remote corner of the various places I’ve lived over the years.

I seem to remember that the first setup I had involved a black-and-white Sears Silvertone and a cheap amp, the brand long forgotten. I started taking lessons, but we moved around a lot, so they didn’t last long. Plus, I was discouraged, because after an hour of paying, I didn’t sound anything like George Harrison.

I’m not sure what happened to the Silvertone, but my friends Dennis and Kim gave me my first electric guitar sometime early in our (community) college careers. Again, I can’t remember the make and model; the only clear recollection that I have is that it was a white Strat knockoff, and I played the hell out of it. As life happened, I moved away, and I have no clue where that old axe ended up.

My next guitar was a Yamaha FG-160 acoustic, which I purchased from a friend who had upgraded to something better. That guitar was tough to play; you almost need two people to make a barre chord. I banged around on it for a few years, but eventually more life happened and it became a corner decoration.

Flash forward several years, and I’m a father to a son who has a penchant for video games. He got caught up in the whole Guitar Hero craze. His mom thought maybe he’d enjoy the real thing, so one fateful Christmas she bought him a Berenger starter set on eBay.

A star is born!

Long story short (too late! the reader cries), watching him play reminded me how much fun I used to have knocking around, so I picked it up again. Figuring I deserved a step up from the Yamaha, I went shopping. But what to choose?

As every member of Woodstock Nation knows, there’s only one guitar: a white Stratocaster.

OK, there are plenty of others to choose from, but I set my sights on a white Strat just the same.

So, on April 20, 2008, I became the proud owner of a Made in Mexico Fender HSS Stratocaster, Arctic White, Serial #MZ6206890.

I have so far resisted the temptation of giving it a name (no offense to Frankenstrat, Blackie and Number One), aways referring to it as simply “The Strat”.

Wanting to make it my own, I did a small mod job. I replaced all chrome and plastic accessories (except the pickguard) with their black counterparts – even the string trees. This necessitated replacing the stock humbucker with a Seymour Duncan, but all’s well.

The Strat was the first addition to my collection. Other pieces will be discussed in future posts.

In the meantime, Keep On Rockin’!

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Sticker Shock

 

lumigan

For my macular degeneration, my iDoc long ago prescribed one drop of Lumigan in my left eye every night.  Although it’s packaged in a tiny little bottle, one drop a night means it lasts me a few months. Particularly since I don’t always remember to drop the drop in my eye.

I dropped the last drop from my previous refill one night last week, and ordered a refill.

When I stopped at the pharmacy the next day to pick it up, I couldn’t believe my good eye. When I had the prescription filled in September, the 2.5 ml bottle cost me $25. Last week, it had rocketed up to $93! Almost 300% in six months!

As the pharmacist’s assistant was performing CPR on me, she mentioned that without my insurance coverage, it would have cost me $130.

Who says the healthcare system doesn’t need to be looked at closely?