By reading this, or any of my other wildly-hilarious-yet-poignant-and-super-well-written articles on this site, I’m assuming you’ve picked up on the fact that I’m kind of a creative dude. Being creative has its perks, sure. I spout ideas almost in spite of myself. I can make a collage like a boss. I never need to worry about painting inside the lines because I just flip the paper over and draw my own “art.”
But the downside to being creative (aside from the lack of romantic interest from women) is the way that people tend to compliment my work. This happens to me most often when people first see my band, Last Parade, play. Look, I get it, everyone has or has been in a band. Most of them end up playing a fairly solid cover of Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight” every once in a while, and that’s totally fine. I’m a firm believer that no one is allowed the position to look down at someone for putting themselves out there, especially when it comes to creativity (and doubly so when it comes to Eagle Eye Cherry covers).
My band plays mostly originals, so I can see the hesitance. Not only do we have to be able to competently play our instruments, there’s a leap of faith that my songwriting doesn’t, well, suck balls. But after seeing us play for the first time, I generally get the same response. People come up to me and say “Hey, you’re actually really good.”
Like I said, I get it. You didn’t know what to expect and came out to the show as a favor to me, or your friend, or as penance for some sin of your past (we bring confessional booths and a priest to most shows). I’m going to sidestep the fact that I encourage people to check out the tunes before coming to the show (honestly, if you don’t like it, I’m OK with you not coming. I want you to enjoy yourself, not think it’s a chore).
But why you gotta throw that “actually” in there? (Not you personally, I know that you fully support us and I love you very much for it. I’m talking to the other “you” here) It’s kind of a backhanded compliment. I feel guilty complaining about it, ‘cause at the end of the day I’m being told that the music was good, we don’t suck, and someone enjoyed themselves. At the same time though, if I could throw a suggestion out, just say “Wow you guys were really good and I want to make sexy time with you” (or “Wow you guys were really good. I wish that I was a gal so I can make sexy time with you” if you’re a dude).
The most egregious of this error occurred while schmoozing (and boozing) with clients in our offices at an old job. We had worked on a project that included me implementing my musical skillZ (with a capital Z son!), and our client was asking about my musical exploits (i.e. the band). My boss mentioned that he really liked my stuff. As I was describing it, our client was very interested. I “just happened to have” a CD on me, and said that if she wants, I’d be happy to give her a copy (‘cause I tend to client needs). She accepts with what seems to be genuine joy/interest.
We wrap up festivities in the office to move said festivities to a restaurant. Everyone leaves while I stay behind to lock up the office. I go to the bathroom for the customary pre-exit pee (apparently being an adult means you never leave a location without going to the bathroom first), and as I walk in guess what I see sitting on the water reservoir for the toilet. You got it, a napkin with my client’s hotel and room number written in lipstick! JK, it was totally my CD. I looked at it, dumbfounded for a solid minute (average pee time I think), but there it was. Did I force the CD onto her? Was she just being nice the whole time? Have I really been peeing next to the toilet the whole time I was contemplating these things?
As it turns out, she (supposedly) had genuinely forgotten the CD in the bathroom. She maintains that it was not intentional to dump it in the bathroom (Dump! HA!). I choose to believe her because my self-confidence is low enough as it is. Either way, it serves as the perfect enactment of the phrase “You’re actually really good.” Or maybe she was really just paying it forward. She wanted to share the music with someone, and what better time to find a CD than at that moment of post-poo euphoria? I guess that’s still enacting the phrase. Cause the person is going in expecting shit, but came out with some good tunes (along with some shit presumably). It’s actually a really good way to discover music.