I started playing drums in the 2nd grade which is why it’s so hard to give it up. I have a hard time giving anything up. I’m a hoarder of dreams.
I hold on to what my life might have been like if I had continued in mathematics, or physics, acting, political activism, running my own business, managing investments, philosophy, comedy, writing, or if I could have become a polyglot, or, one of my earliest ambitions, simply a millionaire.
I had this beach towel that was the image of a million dollar bill. I loved it so much. One time my parents brought me a gold nugget from some vacation they took. It wasn’t worth much, it was mostly symbolic, but gold, Jerry, gold! I brought it to the playground to show it off and lost it in the sand the same day I got it. The bully who was chasing me told me later that he had pocketed it and gave it to his grandmother, which was probably true. I was very upset, and so were my parents, I think because they had made me so happy, only to so make me so unhappy.
I went to an arts high school for music, but had reservations about choosing the drums over drama, for which I also had the opportunity to go to an arts school. By the time I went to college, I decided not to be a drummer, and second guessed that decision for the rest of my life as well. My reticence to let anything go has always held me back.
Early on, I wanted to be a cop, then a fireman, then a magician, then a reporter or whatever else I saw on TV. Then I realized I didn’t really want to be any of those things, I wanted to be all of them, as an actor, pretending to be them.
It was my first real ambition, acting, before I got serious about music, and as my first, it was the only one I remember being single-minded about. I have to look back to that to remember what it felt like not to be a hoarder of dreams.
If I were to keep one dream at this point it would be to write. It doesn’t matter what. Anything and everything. Journal, fiction, I can pretend to be someone else, like when I was acting. Opinions, like I’m a political activist, philosophy, comedy.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t listen to music, just that I wouldn’t listen competitively, always wondering if or how I could do better. I might just enjoy it.
But, of all my dreams, drums might be the hardest to give up, because it has for so long been a part of my identity. Once a drummer always a drummer, right drummers?
People keep telling me I shouldn’t give up the drums. But for all intents and purposes, I quit a long time ago.