88. Sound Check“Fake it till you make it,” John realized, only works if you actually know how to do “it.”

Not for the first time, John wished he had musical talent, if only he could be on the other side of the sound board at this moment. He loved music, wanted to be a part of making it, but soon realized that his reach exceeded his grasp when it came to actually making it. While he could learn to pick out notes by sheer reputation and muscle memory, he never could find the “language” of it. He didn’t have “the ear,” has his piano teacher told his mother years earlier. It pained him to admit the teacher was correct — and while it stung, she had done him a favor, keeping him from going down a dead-end street.

But there had to be some contribution he could make, he thought. Some way he could get himself into that world. He got a small four-track sound board at a yard sale on a whim and started to play around with it. His sister saw this, and when the brother of a friend of hers needed a “sound guy” for a show on short notice, she volunteered John.

The smart thing, John realized when he saw the board for the first time, would be to confess ignorance. The thing looked like a airplane cockpit, with dials and sliders that he had no idea what to do with.

He decided against the smart thing.