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I BROKE a nail last week. So, what of it, a friend had said. You do not need to write with it anyway. But the thing is bro, my pointer finger’s nail is just but one of the four in my right hand which I need to pluck the strings of the old guitar with. 

But is it that important? They continue to press. Why don’t you use a flat pick, like other strummers do? “I don’t know how to use one; and yes, the trio’s playing two straight nights this week and it’s near impossible to play with a broken nail.” Ach so, we’ll see how it’ll turn up then.

I woke up on gig-day and a cartoon light bulb appeared to light up in my head. The bubble said, why not buy one of those plastic finger picks instead? When I informed the missus at breakfast I was leaving early to look for guitar picks, it set into motion a slight buzz, and in an instant, we were turned into a search party pronto. Didn’t figure that’s just the perfect excuse for everyone to leave the house. 

So off we went… I got my finger picked, we checked the mall out, came out with additional groceries and loot and my son finally got his craving, buy-one-take-one double cheeseburger with black pepper toppings and such…  All because of one twenty-peso worth of finger pick. Sweet. Funny how things turn out in the end.

On gig night number two, an old classmate and his ex-college sweetheart and wife turned up and served as another topping to our perfect music set. Even as we haven’t seen each other in years, any conversation related to reminiscing school days, whether they be high school or college, is priceless. When I got home (much later than usual), I looked back and had a moment of contemplation. 

Does everyone ever ask themselves if their life choices were ever worth it? Practically all my classmates were either doctors, lawyers, or successful businesspeople. Dipped my finger into working in a 9-5 office, too, many years ago. But slowly gravitating towards where I and a few refer to as that one road less traveled. 

At one table in the folk house where I sat down that night were idly talking about a fellow singer’s choice of work; leaving behind the job of being a mechanical engineer and opting instead to be a performing artist, a long-time dream. In that very instant, the words of Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender” had begun playing in my mind: 

“…caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender… out into the cool of the evening, goes the pretender, who knows that all his hopes and dreams begin and end there.”

Broken nail, unbroken dreams. It’s never good to regret one’s choices. Just have to make them work.


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