Jason (jcreed) wrote,

Aha, I finally found the anecdote I was looking for. It's from "The How and Tao of Folk Guitar", a book that I would have liked even better if it taught in standard tuning. But as it is, it's still cute and somewhat helpful.

An excerpt:

...Right before [the preacher] was getting ready to leave he complimented me on my guitar playing and I did what I almost always did back then. I went into to whole, "Aw, shucks, I'm not really that good" routine.

The next thing I knew the preacher turned on me just about as angry as I've ever seen anybody. He was jumping up and down and waving his guitar like he wanted to bonk me over the head. I was trying to figure out what I did or said to upset him while Dad was looking at me from across the room with that, "What have you gone and done now?" look when the preacher started talking.

"I gave you a compliment. I was trying to tell you how much I enjoyed playing the guitar with you and your dad and you have to turn around and insult me. How could you?" I started trying to say something but he was in full-blown Southern preacher mode. He wasn't talking angry anymore, it was worse than that. He was talking passionately like he really wanted me to understand this.

"False modesty isn't just a sin, Patrick. It's insulting. When somebody gives you a complement about your music that person is trying to say, 'hey, thank you for sharing with me!' and when you start that sandbagging routine you're telling that person that he's stupid, and even worse you're trying to get them to keep stroking your ego telling you how good you are. When a person comes over to compliment you they might want to ask you about something else, like as an icebreaker, to lead into maybe asking for help learning the guitar. If you love music so much would you want to drive that person away? Is it so hard just to accept the compliment like a man and say, Thank you?"

It was one of the few times in my life that I didn't have some kind of a snappy comeback. I just stood there and waited for him to catch his breath. After glowering at me for a moment he said, "You play very well, Patrick. I really enjoyed your music."

I grinned at him. "Why thank you, Pastor Charlie."

He shook my hand and said that there was hope for me yet.
Tags: music, stories

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