Nerissa: I was told when friends learned I’d be having a baby boy, that at a certain age, all phallic objects turn into guns. Yet I observed a different phenomenon in Katryna’s house. When William turned four, all phallic objects became guitars. So with Johnny. For Christmas, Katryna gave him a set of these excellent Boom Whackers. Each one of these colorful plastic tubes, when whacked, emits a pitch (from Do to Do, up a scale). One can use another boom whacker to strike said pitch, or one could use a stuffed animal, wooden spoon, or one’s sister’s limp-pasta-style hand.
Johnny doesn’t bother with the pitches. Instead, each one of them represents a different kind of guitar.
“Dat one is my banjo,” he nodded in the direction of the green one. He picked up the longest red one, and said, “Pway dat song dat goes,” and then he proceeded to mimic (quite accurately) the feedback at the beginning of “I Feel Fine,” followed by a vocal rendition of the introductory riff.
Today after school, as I put groceries away and made dinner, Johnny and Lila put on The Beatles, cracked the window, and created a row of “microphones,” all the better to regale the neighbor’s cat. They carefully closed the window on their rows of tubes and sang “Love Me Do” into the back yard. I am sure this had nothing to do with the fact that they were on the road with Katryna and me all weekend, watching us mount stage after stage. For now, the focus has moved from guitar to mic.