It was dark and stormy as I traipsed up the steps to my boyfriend’s
apartment, excited for our date night. But, as I reached the door, I
heard the Sound:
A muddled E note.
Could it be? Lore had it that only the Devil’s boys play guitar
when they know they have company coming, for such a thing is boring for
others to watch! But when I flung open the door and gazed into Rob’s man
cave, I saw a sight that I prayed could be unseen:
Rob noodling on a guitar!
“I’m just noodlin’,” he said. “Gimme a minute.”
My stomach dropped. Legend states that boys noodling on guitars cannot
be destroyed. There is no stake, no silver bullet, no suggestion of a
more fun activity that can deter them. For, once a boy is possessed by
the desire to noodle, he transforms into a heinous creature—a Frontman
who jams and, on the worst of nights, records it all on his iPhone.
As I caught my breath, I heard a frightful tune, the anthem of boys
noodling on guitar—the intro to “Stairway to Heaven.” The first stage of
the transformation had begun.
“But this was movie night, Rob!” I cried. But Rob could not hear me,
because, as he noodled, Rob thought that he was Robert Plant.
My night life was on the line. I had to snap him out of it.
“Cease your demonic possession!” I begged the guitar. “Make him stop
But the guitar’s grip was too strong. Rob was overtaken by the belief
that he “should really go on tour someday,” and his voice was now merely
a vehicle for the guitar’s ghastly message: “There’s a lady that’s sure
/ All that glitters is gold . . . ”
I knew this noodling could go on for hours, maybe years. And then—
“Did you know Billy Preston almost joined the Beatles?” Rob said.
Chilling. It was clear he had reached the next stage: fun facts. Maybe
if I didn’t scream, “I DON’T CARE,” his energy would wane, and our date
could resume. But instead . . .
“Yesterday,” he sang, “all my troubles seemed so far away.”
My ears! The dreaded sad-songs stage already!
“Guess what this song used to be called?” Rob asked, mid-noodle.
I felt dizzy. With all the might I could muster, I implored him, “No,
Rob. Please, I just want to watch a movie!”
“ ‘Scrambled Eggs,’ ” he said. “It was their first song featuring only one
The room grew dark. Who could possibly care about this information? The
thought was interrupted by that chord progression, the one all the songs
use, as Rob croaked out lyrics that weren’t his, to songs he would, I’d
later discover, also play for me on iTunes. And then, as the prophecy
“We noodlin’?” Rob’s roommate, Ed, asked, emerging from his dank
chamber, weapon in hand: a Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016 (ebony)
electric guitar, the one of legend. I could not believe my eyes. Two boys possessed by the urge to noodle? I was done for.
As if moved by some higher power, they launched into the same bars of
“The Sound of Silence.”
No horror I had yet experienced had prepared me for suffering through a
two-man jam-band noodling the same part of a song over and over. The
guitar put Rob in a trance, from which he derived some sick pleasure,
boring me to my very core and leaving me no way to communicate,
participate, or breathe.
“At least play a full song!” I beseeched them. But they couldn’t hear
“Did you know,” Rob started, “that Bob Dylan originally wrote ‘Like a
Rolling Stone’ as a short story?”
“Cool,” Ed replied.
No. This was the final, darkest stage: Bob Dylan. I knew that if I
couldn’t save them, I at least had to save myself. As they began to
croon what my mortal ears determined to be “Blowin’ in the Wind,” I
wrenched the door open, and stepped one foot out—
“Rekha!” Rob called.
A saving grace?
“Yes, Rob?” I said, ever hopeful.
He flashed a maniacal smile. “Sing the harmony.”
A threat: join the terror, or prepare to have your evening murdered and
rended limb from limb. I turned to him, tears streaming down my face.
“I am not going to do that, do you hear me?” I screamed. “Never!”
I knew, standing there, watching them try to figure out the intro to
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” for fifteen minutes, without Googling it,
that I would never get Rob back. The Devil had cast a curse upon my
evening. There would be no date night. There would be no movie.
So, young lovers, I beg you! Heed my warning, and beware of men
susceptible to the evil forces of noodling on guitar. For when a boy and
a guitar meet, something toxic, horrifying, and dumb happens that is far
too powerful for many to resist.