Me and Eric Clapton, Sort of the Same

Riffing. That’s what it’s called when a guitarist goes off script, playing something new, based on the music everyone else is playing. It’s creative, spinning something unique; no two riffs are–or should be–the same. That’s what I call it when I do it with words.

I’m not musically inclined at all. To put it charitably, I couldn’t carry a tune if it was stapled to me. My wife and kids, they can all sing and play at least one instrument…SO glad they didn’t inherit my lack of a musical gene. I cant even get past Medium on the drums in Rock Band, no rhythm.

So I riff with words. Someone will say something, the conversation will turn a certain way…and I’m off, running at the mouth. Any phrase or idea that comes to mind, I’ll spit it out. Mostly I’m going for humor, just brainstorming by myself or with any like-minded folks around. Bounce it off the walls, see if anything is worth remembering. Most if the time, I’ll go just one joke too far, ruining anything funny I said before by stretching it, exposing the ragged edge of my creativity.

But I like those moments, feeling around the limit of what I can come up with. If you don’t push the envelope, you don’t know what you can do, like test pilots. That’s me, the Apollo Program of bad jokes.

Some of the things that I’ve riffed on the last few days:

  • Tagline for the Abraham Lincoln–Vampire Hunter movie: “Terminated with EXECUTIVE prejudice!”
  • Jedi Academy Daycare: imagine little 4-year-old kids, watched over by exasperated Jedi, using purple lightning on the playground. “But Master Windu, Billy said I was a With, and I’m not, I’m not, I’m NOT, WAAAAAH!”
  • Response to office conversation about someone’s constant negative attitude, comparing them to Eeyore: “Oh, that business model will sink us for sure.” “I’m not sure about that paradigm, Pooh.” (Delivered in my best Eeyore impression of course.) Call it ‘The Seven Negative Habits of Eeyore,’ instant best-seller.
  • Name for friend’s new florist business, catering to weddings & other events: Singular Blooms (complete with tagline “Unique creations for any occasion!”)

Maybe those things will never amount to anything more than this blog. Maybe I’ll get a few Likes in a Facebook post. Doesn’t matter…just like that guitarist, I’ll keep doing it, playing crazy, just to see what comes out of it.


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