One day I was sitting on my porch jamming on my guitar and singing. And I thought I sounded pretty good.
But apparently someone else thought otherwise.
I don’t remember the song I was playing, but I do remember it was in my upper register.
For those of you who sing, you know that the higher the note is, the louder your voice tends to get.
As I played and sang, I saw my neighbor stick his head out from around the bushes that separated our houses (about 25 yards away). I stopped playing, waved and smiled. He quickly waved and disappeared behind the bushes.
I didn’t think anything of it and continued playing guitar and singing.
Maybe 15 minutes later, I was helping this neighbor and his wife, both in their 60s or 70s, load something out of their car.
“Was that you over there?” my neighbor asked me, as the three of us stood at the trunk of their car.
“Yeah,” I said with a smile, waiting for the compliments to rain down upon my head.
“Oh, I was wondering what that was,” he said with a smirk. “It sounded like a f#*@ing dying cat.”
His wife hit him in the arm and gave me some reassuring words.
But I wasn’t bothered by it.
“I could come over and play for you sometime,” I said, returning his smirk with my own.
...So what's the point of this story?
Well, for one, it's just hilarious and totally true.
And secondly, it's a lesson on learning how to take criticism — both constructive and destructive — without letting it crush you. You have to build up a thick skin and look at things realistically in life.
Even if people call you a f#*@ing dying cat.
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A version of this story first appeared on my blog for fellow musicians and creative people, Musician With A Day Job.