Life Lesson – Warped Drum Sticks

SKF NOTE: He always seemed bored. Customers milled about the music store, excited to see actual music equipment they knew only from seeing their favorite bands on tv, or from magazine or newspaper advertisements.

Real Kustom amps covered in red, blue, or silver tuck-and-roll metal flake Naugahyde. Vox amps like the Beatles used. Ludwig, Slingerland, Gretsch, and Rogers drum sets.

Yet whenever I was in his store, the tall, lanky, black haired salesman appeared as enthusiastic as high school algebra teacher. And that’s how I remember him the day I first rolled wooden drum sticks on his glass counter top.

Rolling drum sticks was a consumer tip I learned from a Down Beat magazine column, I think. Drummers are taught to balance and hold drum sticks in our hands. Warped drum sticks were tough, maybe impossible, to balance.

So, when I told the bored music store clerk I wanted to buy a pair of Regal Tip 5A drumsticks, he grabbed a random pair from a bin half-full with Regal Tip 5A drumsticks, and headed for the cash register. Until I stopped him.

“I’d like to roll those drum sticks,” I said. With his practiced you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me face, the clerk placed the drum stick pair on the countertop. I rolled one. It was fine. I rolled the other.

“This stick is bent,” I said. It was severely warped.

At that, the clerk turned around, grabbed every Regal Tip 5A in his bin and set them before me on the countertop.

“Let me know when you find a pair,” he said, walking away to tend to another customer.

I did find a straight pair of 5A’s, proud of myself for successfully exercising my newfound drum knowledge.

It’s just too bad the fond memory comes with that long-faced clerk.

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