Once upon a time, I was cool.

I think.


Take a look at the picture above. The guy in mid-flight wearing the white tank and white pants with the bass guitar strapped to his side? That’s me circa a long time ago. Me when I was a wanna-be rock star playing with my band at a venue that I believe soon re-invented itself into a Latin jazz club.

I take a look at that pic and think to myself, yup I was cool. Or maybe I just looked cool. Either way, I felt cool.

Those were the nights of playing live music in front of adoring fans. Those were the nights packed with adrenaline, applause and adulation. Those were the nights that reaffirmed what it meant to be young and free and not have to care about responsibility. At least until the bar tab came.

Those nights are long gone.

These nights, that guitar hangs up on the bedroom wall as a reminder of those nights. These nights, I’m not cranking the amp up to 11. I’m turning the volume down to 5. Walls are thin. Can’t wake Baby Boy.

Instead of jumping with the guitar at my hip, I jump with Baby Girl on my back. And we don’t rock out to the thrashing sounds I once wrote. We rock out to the cheerful melodies written by others. Songs about where the line meets the sky and the sea and how no one knows how far it goes. Truth be told, I kind of like these songs better.

The microphone’s still there. But instead of a Shure SM58, I go with the KidKraft Disco Mic. The colored spotlights have burnt out. They’ve been replaced by a handful of 60 watt soft white fluorescents. The stage is still elevated only now it’s the bed or the couch. Sometimes though I want to get eye to eye with the crowd  So we move down to the carpet or kitchen floor.

Speaking of the crowd, the audience isn’t a large group packed wall to wall inside the Whiskey A Go-Go. It’s diminished substantially. These days it’s just two little ones. Fortunately the show is all-ages. Plus, they’re the best fans in the world and they have plenty of room to bounce off the walls if they so choose.

No whiskey, though. Maybe some milk.

The white on white outfit? Try some plaid pajama bottoms and a long sleeve navy blue t-shirt. The sporty kicks have been replaced with some soft bedroom slippers. Not as much spring but they’re a whole lot fuzzier.

Tickets are a lot cheaper than they once were, too. As in, there’s no charge. But that doesn’t diminish the quality of the show. The performances are as energetic as ever even if they’re not as long. The muscles and stamina seem to wear down quicker than they did but that’s okay. You always prefer to leave them wanting more. Besides, the audience doesn’t seem to mind. They still laugh and clap and cheer. It’s enough to keep the adrenaline pumping.

Once upon a time I was cool. Far as I’m concerned, I’m still cool. Not so much rock star cool. More like silly dorky Dad cool. And I’m comfortable with that. I’ll keep being that kind of cool for as long as being that kind of cool is still, in fact, cool.

Or at least until my kids tell me differently.

Copyright 2017 Damien Alameda. All Rights Reserved.


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