Love & Guitars: Erasmus

You wouldn’t have to look hard to find a better bass player than me. As a matter of fact, you’d barely have to look around at all. But you’d need to keep a weather eye to find a better wingman than Erasmus here.

Old Chuck Darwin may have been the cannonball that blew the top off the evolution of species, but he was most definitely not the one that lit the fuse. A few others before him started by fumbling down the road of guesswork and observation that eventually led us to solid science. Not least among those pioneers was Chuck’s very own grandpa, Erasmus Darwin. I named Erasmus in his honor, and in a greater sense in honor of what Erasmus Darwin represents: humble, sometimes awkward beginnings. Erasmus is my first, and so far only, bass. He is the beginning of a road I intend to go down just as soon as I’m done with a few of the other roads I’m on right now.

Erasmus is the only male guitar I own, and the story of how he and I met would be legendary if only anyone knew it. I’ve kept that story secret until now, a little nugget from the past squirreled away for my occasional amusement. But I think it’s time to let it out for a little air. This is the first time I’ve told this particular tale, so any imperfections in the telling are solely my fault, and not the fault of the story itself. The story is a beautiful thing.

Once upon a time, it seems there was a lady named Marsha who loved her husband very much. Her husband, being the kind of guy to toy with women’s’ hearts, screwed Marsha over. I don’t know how. I don’t want to know how. No woman should ever have to relive her own pain to satisfy something so trivial and unworthy as the curiosity of a man. In any case, it’s not germane to the story. The point is, when Marsha’s husband screwed her over, he did it BIG.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life it’s that no matter how well you know a woman, you can never tell how she’ll respond to betrayal. You wrong a woman and you’re rolling the Devil’s dice. Sometimes the strongest women will just sit and cry silently, and it’s such a heartbreaking thing to see that you want to kill whatever son of a bitch did it to her. Others, sometimes the quiet ones, will break into a furious rage, and you can watch the thunderheads roll across her eyes. At those times it’s best just to run. Betraying a woman is like lighting a match around a powder keg: don’t. It might not go off this time. But it might. Best not to be the one that finds out.

Marsha reacted by matching hurt for hurt. Her man squandered her trust, so she squandered his… along with every material possession he owned. She started by sleeping with a friend of mine, although “sleeping” is a gentle term for it. What she was doing was pure, simple revenge fucking. And after she satisfied her carnal vengeance with my friend, she started selling off her husband’s stuff. At bargain basement prices.

She sold his motorcycle. She sold his DVDs. She sold his television, and his bowling ball, and all of his furniture. She sold all of his sports equipment, thousands of dollars worth. She even sold his fucking clothes. She showed no mercy. It was an end of the relationship clearance sale, and everything must go.

Including his beautiful black Fender Precision Bass.

I wasn’t in the market for a bass. I’d never played one. I’d never even held one. But my friend called me and wanted to know if I would be interested in a gently used bass, still slightly warm, and dirt cheap as long as I asked no questions. Well, who was I to refuse? I didn’t know the whole story then, and it wouldn’t have mattered much if I had. I’m not the kind of man who would let a little thing like a broken marriage come between me and a good guitar.

Erasmus and I got along famously right from the start. We dig the same kind of music. We dig the same kind of women. He even digs the Darwin fish I got for him. He’s the Ron Wood to my Keith Richards. Christopher Woodall, Jr. And he’s much happier hanging with me than with that other guy. That jackass not only broke his woman’s heart, he carved her name in Erasmus’s pickguard. If you look closely enough you’ll see it there, “Marsha” scrawled on the surface like it was written by some shaky handed kid with a gutter nail. And Erasmus and I agree that we’re never, ever getting rid of it. It’s his battle scar. His tattoo. A warning from his past. “Betrayal will cost you the love of a good woman, but it might also cost you a whole lot more.” Words of wisdom passed down from the gods of rock. Message received, my friends. Message most definitely received.

For what it’s worth, Marsha, if you’re out there, whoever you are, thank you. I hope you finally found the peace and love you deserve. I hope you’ve found every trust and comfort life can give. Know that Erasmus and I are both a lot happier because of you.

Custom 1990 Fender Precision Bass Plus
4 String Solid Body
BODY: Alder, Double Cutaway Contoured, Black Pearl finish, 3-Ply White/Black/White pickguard
NECK: Maple
FRETBOARD: Maple, Black inlay
BRIDGE: Deluxe Plus Fixed Bridge with Fine Tuners
CUSTOM MODIFICATIONS: Series/parallel push-push button has been removed from the circuit and the pickguard hole has been left unfilled.

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