A dad from our town asked me to help his kid find a job in the music business. The kid is 25, and it’s been three years since he graduated as a composition major from Julliard. Julliard. The Wizard of Oz of music universities.
He’s smart, pretty talented, good looking, cleans up nice, and comes from a prominent, affluent family.
When I tell you this kid has nothing going on, he has nothing going on.
He’s living upstairs in his parents’ 4.7 million dollar home, and hasn’t worked a day in his life since he graduated. He sits around his house noodling on the same songs with cliché jazz chords over and over again.
Even though he’s smack dab in the middle of the music and communications capitol of the world, he has no idea under the sun where to go to get a job using his craft as a composer.
He has no clue how to sneak through the gates at the film studios and get in the sound stages to meet composers, music studio heads and musicians. He wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to knock on the door of a pop music producer and tell him he’ll be a cleaning lady in his studio for absolutely nothing just for the opportunity to watch him work.
And even if he did get to meet with a music agent, he surely wouldn’t have the balls to look him in the face and shake his hand like a man.
Do you know why?
Because he never cut a lawn in his life.
He doesn’t know the feeling of getting handed $5.50 from an old man behind his aluminum screen door after dripping in sweat on a hot summer day, with clips of yellow grass stuck to his face – as generations of mosquitoes have dinner on your arm.
He never shoveled thick, wet snow with a knucklehead buddy in seventh grade on an old ladies’ driveway in the absolute dead of winter. He doesn’t know the high of having sweat dripping and freezing at the same time on your face, or why you need to grip your hands in a fist under your sopping wet gloves so the tips of your frozen fingers don’t crack.
And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know the demented ecstasy of sticking your toes next to a heater and feeling them thaw from the inside out like a frozen potpie in a microwave.
I’d bet he’s never experienced the 7th grade rite-of-passage of barely lugging two 30-pound golf bags on your shoulders fifteen yards behind a foursome of irritated country club members that truly think your first name is “Caddy.”
It all hit me the other day when I was in a jam to get a ride to the airport. My senior-in-high-school next-door neighbor was whacking golf balls in a big net in his front lawn.
I offered him $60 to take me to the airport. He’d be home in an hour. He looked up after a nice, lessoned swing with his new Taylor Made R15 AeroBurner Driver and said, “I’ll pass.”
He doesn’t get that he’s not passing on $50. He’s passing on a richness of experiences he can’t ever go back and recapture again.
I just smiled at the kid, told him I’m saving up for that new driver — and texted Uber.