In my next life, I'm going to come back as a member of one of the cool bluegrass bands I see on GAC's "The Edge of Country." Though I will look as though I loathe all forms of country music, what with my pierced nose, ironic t-shirt and gloriously unkempt curly hair, I will pay homage to pioneers like Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe each time I pick up the mandolin I learned to play when I got tired of picking out various Pixies songs on the electric guitar I bought my junior year.
I will major in English at a large Southern university, say Clemson or the University of Georgia, where I will meet my bandmates -- the shaved head guy who plays the guitar, the other curly-haired guy on the acoustic guitar and, of course, our beautiful, beatific lead singer, Emily.
We will release a few albums on regional labels, play coffeehouses, and make one video, which will then appear on "The Edge of Country." This video will feature us playing our song on the porch of a dilapidated shack, overgrown with kudzu and other green southern flora, on a sunny day, interspersed with footage of us sitting on the same porch, rocking back and forth in porch swings, laughing and having a great time. Although Emily is undeniably great-looking, it will seem that we have a decidedly brotherly relationship with her. We will be the friends she comes to when her heart is broken, rather than the causes of that breaking. Except for the acoustic guitar guy. He will break her heart, but the band will soldier on.
There will be a point in the video where Emily is walking next to a river, with all of the trees, bushes and grasses impossibly green all around her. The rest of us will still be playing away on the porch, looking solemn, concentrating intensely on our instruments, though of the three of us, the mandolin is really the only one that requires great concentration.
I will wear my best ironic t-shirt for the video, along with some faded jeans and work boots. I will accessorize my look with a pair of small, round, wire-rimmed glasses. None of us men will have shaved for a few days.
In our video world there will be no problems, just music, hanging out on the porch, and Emily walking next to the river. It will seem like a world anyone would want to enter, one where the sun is an hour or so from its descent, and it's even money we will then barbecue or go into town for an incredible, inexpensive hamburger at some place we started to go to because it seemed ironic but then realized had the most incredible food in town. We found it during college. It was the only place open after the bars closed, and we would go there with Emily and compete to see whose poetry would get her attention. It was the guitar player, even then.
I hate the guitar player. He is supposed to be my friend, but instead he monopolizes Emily and tries to go all rock star on us everytime we tour, insisting that he needs to drive when Emily is riding shotgun, and then forcing one of us to sit shotgun when Emily is in the back, so he can sit back there with her and play his lame songs, singing in this atonal croon. It is amazing that he can harmonize so well in the studio and on stage, yet when left on his own sounds a bit like an off-key Barry Manilow.
That's not bluegrass at all.
Fortunately, in our video all is perfect. The guitar player -- alright, I'll give him a name, David. Never "Dave." Never something as pedestrian as "Dave." It's gotta be "David," because "Dave" is a good guy who doesn't mind watching a little ACC hoops in the motel after a show. Not "David," though; no. "David" absolutely HATES sports, even though he claims to have been an All-State cornerback in high school. Right. That story's as phony as his Southern Accent. When we first met, in Freshman English, he told me he was from Indiana -- anyway, "David" looks like one of us, stress-free, enjoying the warm Georgia afternoon. The day is perfect, and I have to admit, it's easier to handle David when Emily's down walking by the river, and that part where we're all hanging out and laughing is real, because Tony (the bald guy, who could go by "Anthony" but does not, even though "Tony" is hardly a bluegrass name) said something really funny just a second before.
Yes, if I could come back as one of those post-collegiate liberal arts major used to be in a punk band bluegrass guys, hanging out on the porch in one of those lazy Southern afternoon videos, everything would be great. There would be no problems at all.