What's Good Enough?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
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    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Not all of us can get those great jobs selling lumber. The local Home Depot, when you go in, you have clerks falling all over you to wait on you hand and foot. For casual labor, there are several guys waiting in the parking lot, you have to compete with them.

    I live on a 5-acre place in a trailer in back, do chores here and that pays my rent and most of my food. I qualify for all kinds of gov't aid but don't trust 'em a bit, not the least, this board does not allow the real language to describe how I feel about the Beast, so leave it at that. I sell stuff at one swap-meet a month, that operates in the warm months, that supplies about $300 a month when it's going well, I live off of very little. In my late 40s with trashed credit and not able to do the heavy physical work I did in my 20s, even if we weren't in a Depression finding work would be problematical. The IRS will garnish any paycheck I take anyway. I'm surviving and thwarting the Beast that wants me dead by making too little to tax, and being a good survivalist.

    How did I end up in this situation? By having dreams, aspirations. I recommend if you have a kid who wants to be an electrical engineer or own their own company in that field, slap that idea right out of him. Teach him something real. Farming, working on tractors and trucks, bicycle mechanic. Or digging ditches, janitorial work, etc anything people will NEED and can't be outsourced or offshored. Get 'em to join the military if at all possible, the Empire will need its hoplites until the end. Music has been my secret friend through thick and thin, when I had nothing, I mean nothing-nothing, I still had the music stored up in my head. I've been keenly fascinated with street musicians since I knew they existed., starting with some old guy who played clarinet in Venice Beach and an old guy who played accordion outside a small market in Los Angeles. I've spent years stifling any interest in learning an instrument and doing the same at least in my off hours because I was trying like any good American for the TOP. Well, I should have been trying for the BOTTOM. Not how big a place could I afford, but how cheaply could I stay under a roof? Not how flashy a car, but how to do without one if possible. Now I finally am rich because I'm rich in TIME, to do this.

    Reaching for the TOP made sense until about 20 years ago. This Depression we're in is just the finally-visible stage of economic decay we've been in since the mid-80s. For a guy who grew up on Asimov and Heinlein and Chesley Bonestall paintings it's a heck of a come-down but it's the truth. Trying for that McMansion in the sky is an illusion that will KILL you and by this I mean, it will KILL off your best years, it will KILL your soul because chances are you won't get it, just wear yourself out, and if you do, you'll just find yourself on a fancier, gold-plated hamster wheel that has to be spun FASTER. Instead, look at how you can live a life that allows you to enjoy yourself, feel good about what you do, and have time for friends, family if you can afford one (otherwise your friends are your family) and playing TRUMPET. It may be serving in a military band, it may be one of those plum jobs selling lumber, it may be working in a coffee shop afternoons then "gigging" at night, or it may mean living really cheap (kinda part time caretaker/farmhand) and aspiring to just be able to lay on some decent street music. Heck I'd even aspire to put some tunes on YouTube but apparently that's kinda like aspiring to be Burt Rutan and fly my own rocket to the moon, from where I am. I know, I've tried. But if I get good enough, maybe I'll run into someone to work with who has those elite skills. I can't even get the microphone on my computer to work so I"ll have to get a tape player from the thrift store to record myself.

    Happy Depression all! I still think the military's the best answer for anyone under 30.
     
  2. Back at it

    Back at it Pianissimo User

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    Feb 12, 2010
    Western, NY
    You make a good point the OP and most peaple can take away. Happiness is accepting where one is at not in where they want to be. When we become tangled between the real versus the ideal creates anxiety. a poor stuggling musician should be happy because they are doing what they love!
     
  3. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    That is the bottom line, so to speak.

    And that brings it all back to the original question..."what's good enough?" It all depends...It's "good enough" if one is able to do what one wants to do.

    And if one isn't doing what is desired and aspired, then there must be some other factors at work which are creating interference. The ideal might become real (let me emphasize "might") if and when those interfering factors are correctly identified and recognized, and subsequent action is taken...if, in fact, the obstacles are possible to remove...
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  4. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    The thing is, the rules have changed. After WWII, if you kept your nose clean you were pretty much on the up-escalator in the US. Those rules started changing in the mid-70s got much more "upside down" in the mid-80s, downward forces even stronger in the mid-90s ..... etc. What's going on now isn't just another economic burp. For all but the top few per cent, the default condition is going to be downward. And for that top few, it'll be downward for them too, just a bit later than for most of us.

    People have dealt with these types of conditions all through history. Some of the Greek philosophers, Chinese philosophers, Indian philosophers, etc came up with some of the most profound answers to how to be happy on little. Some, I think correctly, concluded that even in good times, happiness is found in living on little.

    A little closer to home, someone who's a God to me, Louis Armstrong, apparently counted his riches in how many people he made happy. He lived very modestly, instead of something like Graceland, which he certainly could have had, he lived in a fairly modest house in New Jersey. He probably only had a house as big as that was, so he could host groups of musicians. He'd have been very happy in an apartment otherwise. He was a RICH man. He had ability money can't buy, and his riches were greater the MORE he shared them.
     
  5. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    I have some real choice two-word phrases I could call you right now, but I think I will refrain. From what I can tell, you're just some disgruntled man who blames all of his problems on "the beast." Well, guess what, your life is what you make it to be.

    To the OP: Definitely get a college degree. Get at least two, in fact. They don't have to be in music, but that would be better than none. You can take control of your life and make it what you want it to be. Of course, trials and tribulations come along, but what will make you happy is your attitude toward them. Always look toward a better future. And I agree, happiness doesn't come from material things. If you have a happy family, and you do something you enjoy to support them, then you can't get much better than that. As far as music goes, you never need to give up on it, regardless. And, if you feel you have to pursue a music career against all odds, well, then I guess nothing anyone on this website can say will stop you.
     
  6. Back at it

    Back at it Pianissimo User

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    Feb 12, 2010
    Western, NY
    Yup get a couple of degress for sure, in anything, if music so be it and like it. If you love music and the trumpet you will play for the rest of your life anyway regardless of what education you get. Be happy playing whether in a church on Sundays only or in an LA studio or orchestra..
     
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    2,156
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    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Alex sez:
    How did I end up in this situation? By having dreams, aspirations.
    Alex also sez:
    I think I wasted too much time in college
    --------------
    Gee, there's this really cool Beck song that fits your situation to a tee but I can't think of the name of it.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    We can't forget, the statistical deviation here will follow the bell curve, few at the top few at the bottom and the rest in between.

    People that have lost their dreams just make me sad. I have heard the stories about the beast, and think it is quite often just a mirror that we are looking into. Sure, there are tough times everywhere, but debt just doesn't come from anywhere, it comes when WE take a chance, and lose. That can be a partner, a house where we couldn't make payments or one of many other things. Once we are in the grind, it takes an incredible amount of energy and character to come out on top - precisely the values to be successful in the first place. Once we have one enemy, there are usually more around the corner. It has something to do with self fulfilling prophesy.

    Being on the "run" from Uncle Sam or the banks is of course an activity that ends when we face it, or die. The "right thing" is pretty cut and dry, and seldom hopeless.

    Alex, I hope that you find a dream. Your post proves that you need to.
     
  9. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Oh come on, is it perhaps because foul language and personal attacks are against the rules? And those are all you have to offer instead of any kind of a reasonable reasoned-out response? In fact, you already plead guilty to poor reading comprehension, I don't anywhere blame my troubles on "The Beast". As I said in so many words, I made poor life decisions. Deciding to become an engineer was a very POOR decision. I even throw in as a bonus, that you should strongly advise your kids NOT to become one.

    And I reiterate my recommendation of Army (or branch of military) Band. It's my understanding that you don't get into one of those without a degree, and the OP needs to talk with a recruiter NOW because it's also my understanding that the military, through the ROTC or some similar program, will pay for said college.

    I had a great-Aunt who was dead set against my going to college at all and I should have listened to her. She was RIGHT I was WRONG. She wanted to see me working mopping out animal cages, bathing dogs, holding 'em for shots, etc as a lifelong career. She'd lived through the last Depression and said, "People will never let go of their pets if they can help it". She was extremely pessimistic about any social mobility in life, and she was RIGHT. Her answer in life, after HER parents paying for her college, was to become part of the Beast, getting a gov't job and never letting it go. That would have been a very good answer for myself also, and again .... poor life decisions. A gov't janitor beats about 10 engineers these days.

    Now please stop hijacking this otherwise excellent thread. Start your own. ROFL
     
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Rowukl it's so nice to hear something constructive. The $1500 for a bankruptcy is half a year's income for me, but that's one way to do it. Another is a matter of revising tax forms and going back and forth with the IRS and then that eventually resolves it. And the situation is being resolved, one thing I have to say, is that the really nasty response above is probably motivated by envy, since I am for the first time in years, FREE. I don't do anything using credit, it's all cash and if I don't have the cash, I don't get it. Talk to some Depression era folks while they're still with us, they had to find out the hard way this is the only way to be free. As property values continue to plummet, I'm sure in a few years I'll be able to buy a place cash or at worst, with a privately-held note that's paid off in a few years. That's how this place was bought. The average American has a couple thousand saved for retirement, that's it. I'll be a lot better off than that.

    And I guess I haven't made my "dream" clear enough: To live like Louis Armstrong did. He needed less than he made, gave away a lot (money as well as his playing) and he counted his riches in making people happy.
     

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