Note – This is one is a series of ‘Life Lessons from…” posts.
Matt Gorman is a friend of mine from Antioch College from the late-80’s early-90’s. We first met in Sunnyvale, CA when I was an intern there at ByVideo, Inc. (RIP). I was living with friends and was walking back from the grocery store with one of them, Kate, when a VW bus with a long-haired wildman pulled up and offered us a ride. (I swear I remember this VM bus moment like the scene with the VW bus in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High‘ ) I immediately kicked into ‘stranger danger’ mode and said no and kept walking but Kate, apparently a more trusting or foolhardy person than I, promptly said ‘sure’ and hopped in the front seat.
So now I’m in the back of his bus riding back to our apartment (since Kate had promptly told this stranger where live. sigh) and noticed he had a guitar in the back seat. I picked it up to play around on it and found it was out-of-tune.. but not just normal out-of-tune, this guitar was completely out of tune, like multiple notes off on every string. I asked our new ‘friend’ who it turns out shared my first name, what was going on with this guitar and why it was so out of tune and he said something like ‘Out of tune? It’s fine, I play it all the time. I’m learning to play from that book back there’, (pretty sure the book in question was “Beatles – Complete Easy Guitar“). I assumed he was joking but later he showed me, he picked it up and started playing a song. The guitar sounded absolutely horrible, but Matt was so into it, and so excited about learning guitar, it sounded great to him. After that I tuned his guitar and his face lit up when he played it “Hey that sounds even better! Thanks, dude!”
Fast forward a year or so later, Matt is now attending Antioch College with me (long story), and now … get this… plays guitar exponentially better than I do. Talk about a humbling experience, to have someone go from 0 – better-than-me (which admittedly wasn’t a high hurdle to overcome, but still) in such a short period of time. He had the passion, energy and drive to learn (oh and he’s also a social extrovert, so he found other guitar players to jam with and learn from).
So my life lesson from Matt is, you can do / learn anything if you are motivated enough to do it.
This whole story makes me think of a song by Guy Clark whose chorus is;
“Sing like you don’t need the money,
love like you’ve never been hurt,
dance like nobody is watching,
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work”
– Guy Clark, Come From The Heart