The beautiful drum set has been sitting in the same place for three months. It’s a wonderful convergence of maple wood, metal hoops and mounts, and synthetic materials, as well as some sturdy stands for the copper alloy creations we call cymbals. All these divergent components meet in cooperation to make a unit worthy of the name “percussion”. But, it has sat in the same place for ninety days or more. The price has been set at a very reasonable percentage of the market price suggested by the blue book, so we’re not likely to lower that. Three months, though! The drum set languishes, with many admirers, but no takers.
Until this week. The folks came by late one night as we worked, long after business hours. They stood outside the window, gazing and talking, moving to a different vantage point, and talking some more. Finally, the man knocked on the window. “How much?” I told him the price and he said, “Thank you,” and drove away. Just like all the others. Only, this time it was different. He came back the next day, backing his pickup truck up to the front door. He paid the price. He loaded the set. And left. We cheered. The drum set was finally sold and we were done with it. Well, not quite.
Two hours after the set was loaded into the truck out front, a Hispanic family came in the front door. He spoke no English, so the dad and I struggled to communicate. “La bateria no esta aqui?” (“Is the drum set gone?) I answered that it was sold and he continued. “Pero, yo tengo el dinero ahora.” (“But, I have the money now.”) He said this as he touched his wallet. I apologized again, then he and his family left the store, disappointed, but promising to come again.
If I thought I was done with the drum set, I was mistaken. That very afternoon, another family came in the front door, turning to look at the bare spot where the set had been. “Oh no! You sold it? Will you have another one?” I wanted to say, “Not on your life!”, but thought better of it. As we promised to keep our eyes out for a similar set, they left, telling us they would check back.
Three months that drum set sat there for sale. We dusted it, shoved around the individual drums to make space for equipment moving in and out, and listened to kids beat noisily on the heads and cymbals as their parents shopped. No one wanted it until, on that one day, three different families decided they need it. How is that possible?
I took a guitar in trade yesterday and hung it on the wall behind the counter. It was admired by every guitar player who walked in for the almost two days it was there. This afternoon, a young customer asked me to hold it until he could talk with his parents about drawing down his savings account to purchase it. I promised to hold it until closing, a mere 60 minutes away. One hour. No problem! But again, the young man wasn’t even out of the parking lot and another fellow came in asking to play the guitar. “I think it’s sold. I promised to hold it until closing today,” I told him, but he insisted on trying it out anyway. Within minutes, he was positive. “I really want this guitar!” I reiterated my intent to keep my word to the other young man, so he made me promise to let him know if the deal fell through.
Why is it that we want what we can’t have? What is there about being told something is not available that makes us desire it more? I’ve heard it all my life…“The grass is always greener”… When I was a kid, my dad went through a period of time when he wouldn’t let us eat pork. He said that God must have had a reason for telling the Israelites to abstain from it, so we didn’t eat pork products for quite some time. All of the sudden, ham became my favorite meat. I craved it; couldn’t stand watching other people eating it; even snuck it onto my plate at church dinners. As I ate dinner out tonight with the Lovely Lady, I noticed that the dish I had ordered had ham wrapped around chicken. I suddenly realized that I wasn’t all that big a fan of ham. I can have it any time I want it, but I really don’t care that much about it. Go figure! Now beef…that’s a different story! My low cholesterol diet (at which I’m not doing really well) doesn’t allow much “red meat”, so beef is off the menu most days. I really want to eat steak, hamburgers, tacos…anything with beef in it right now.
Forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve struggled with it, thousands of years ago. King David killed a man for it. Wars are fought for it; feuds endure for generations over it; marriages are destroyed because of it. I’m looking for the day when I can be free from the temptation and paralysis caused by it. It looks like that’s a battle I’ll fight all my life. I’ll keep letting you know how that’s going for me, if you’ll let me know how you’re doing, as well.
I guess I’ll start looking for another drum set tomorrow. And I hope I can have a hamburger for lunch then, too…
“No, it has gone beyond our reach. Of that at least let us be glad. We can no longer be tempted to use the Ring.”(J.R.R. Tolkien~”The Two Towers”)
“The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank”
(Erma Bombeck~American humorist and columnist)