It’s Hard To Measure A Pleasure Or An Itch (Season 2020, Episode 9)
Play episode · 1 hr 26 min
Jason Wilber was John Prine's longtime lead guitarist and musical director. John died during this pandemic. Jason released a new album after John passed. It's entitled, Time Traveler and contains a song, Poet's Life. Today's show title is a lyric from that song.

How do you measure a pleasure or an itch?

I don't know. But I don't know how you measure sadness, sorrow or disappointment either? So my inability to measure such things runs in every direction.

I've been sharing way too much Billy Strings with the private Facebook group lately. Billy Strings is William Apostol. He's a 27 year old guitar whiz kid who combines heavy metal with bluegrass. Yeah, I know. Sounds nuts, right? Well, it's not nuts. It's brilliant.



Billy is one of those artists that I'll binge on a few times a year. I'll just listen and watch everything I can for 2 weeks straight. Mostly in complete amazement at how somebody can be so proficient at something at such a young age. I look over in the corner at my encased acoustic guitar, which I'm unable to play - and I think of measuring the value of a guitar in Billy's hands versus a guitar in my hands. At least you could kinda sorta measure that by looking at how much income Billy earns playing the guitar versus the zero dollars I'll ever earn with a guitar. My only chance of making money on a guitar is if I sell mine!

I grew up hearing preachers deliver sermons about the powerful impact of godly women. Much of the time they'd speak of how priceless a godly wife, mother or grandmother was. And since I had all three, I can attest to the high value they deliver. But I'm not able to measure it.
Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."
I can't play the guitar, but I sure do enjoy watching and listening to Billy Strings perform. In the last 2 weeks, I've likely spent over 50 hours listening to my Billy Strings' records (okay, they're digital) and watching his YouTube concerts. I love watching the guy perform. Many nights in the last 2 weeks his songs have been earworms.

Many things are hard to measure.

But maybe it's worth asking, "Why measure them anyway?"

The square, super-logical among us would say, "Because you can't make progress unless you can measure it." Check out The Squircle Academy if you want to investigate circles and squares.

Ridiculous. Of course, you can make progress in something that can't be measured.

Some aspects of love may be measurable, but it's pretty hard.
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
So there's the pinnacle, right? Hatred is at the opposing extreme I reckon. But what about all that space in between?

I fell in love with my wife in the summer of 1975. After 42 years of marriage, I love her more now than then. I don't have any paperwork to prove it. Nor do I have any assessment I can show off to her. I just know how I feel and what I think. I can measure it intuitively. By how important she is to me. By how devastated I'd be if something bad were to happen to her. By how lonely I'd be without her. By the value she provides to my life.

Family. Friends. Allies. Mentors. Teachers.

How do you measure their value?

Billy Strings said this in a magazine interview...
Those moments are what I cherish the absolute most. For instance, when I was six or seven years old, I was learning “Beaumont Rag,” and I just played the rhythm, but I kept messing it up in this one part. Right in the middle of the song, I said, “Stop. Dad, why don’t you play it and let me listen?” I listened to what he was trying to say with the guitar, and I go, “Now, let me try it again,” and I nailed it. He started laughing. He reached over his guitar and squeezed my little hand. He called my grandmother and said, “Listen to your grandson right now!” I was a little kid, but I’ll never forget that moment. Now there have been several moments since then,
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