It is pretty well-known what to do when you are given lemons. We as a civilization have figured it out, clever, violent beasts that we are: you make lemonade. It is, I think, a fine piece of wisdom. One uses up the lemons before they get all soft and juiceless, and gets a tasty, refreshing beverage in return. Unfortunately, society las left us woefully lacking in direction for when life gives you other tart or seeming unpleasant items with no clear and positive function-stale chocolate, puberty, ukuleles.
I don’t mean to boast (ah, but I do, I do), but of all the options for what to do with a ukulele-play it, smash it, tune it, break down into tears over the premature death of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole-I know what is best.
What is this ukulele lemonade? What is this positive twist when given what is essentially the pug of the stringed instrument world? You store it. You protect it. You hold onto it with all your novelty song might.
Allow me to explain. Because of my building’s proximity to a number of different tourist attractions that do not allow bags, I frequently have people enter and simply beg for me to hold onto their stuff for a couple hours. As long at it is not too large and the person not too much of a jerk, I usually help them out, sticking it in the back with the rest of our packages.
This is one of the main parts of my job: I am a professional doer of favors. It is diet charity work, in that I don’t really do anything significant, and I’m not really helping people in need, but everyday I just get to do little favors, bend the rules a little bit for people to make them a) feel special b) have a better day and c) sometimes tip.
So when a redhead in a summer dress came in brandishing a ukulele like it was baby Moses straight from the Nile, and panicking over the personal tragedy of her being unable to get drinks with her friends, I helped her out.
A student who had just abandoned her desk job for NYU’s musical therapy program after 8 years of work, she surprised me with a ten dollar tip, when I told her I would hold onto the ugly little thing. When life gives you ukuleles…
She returned just as it was getting dark, bringing with her her girlfriends (very dangerous part of town, as it is), thanked me again, and, as she was walking out the door, told me to save the contact information that she had left me, and give her a call sometime. When life gives you ukuleles…
Now, I’m not one to necessarily call a number left by a complete-if cute-stranger, but given the circumstances, I think it might be economically beneficial. Ten dollars for temporarily storing the lute’s bastard half-brother? What sort of payment scale are we working with? Imagine how much I would be tipped after the first date, the first kiss? With unemployment staring me in the face, I may have found my strumming, humming sugar mama.
There are a great many people giving out an even greater amount of unsolicited advice, and joining that vast multitude, I humbly offer my own contribution: If someone asks you to hold their ukulele, do it.