Bipolar Disorder, Music and Online Shopping

John McManamy Health Guide
  • For those new to my shareposts here, I have a confession to make: I play the didgeridoo.

    Okay, I exaggerate a bit. I honk the didgeridoo.

    The didgeridoo is perhaps the world’s oldest wind instrument, developed by the Aborigines in Australia. It is a long wooden tube that produces a drone very conducive to cultivating one’s spiritual practice, plus some cool rhythmic pulses.

    I moved to southern California from New Jersey about 16 months ago, and suddenly didgeridoos made a lot of sense. Now I own two.

    I used to play the trombone, and therein lies my frustration. Here I am, out in the back yard among the blue jays and humming birds, happily honking away on one note, when suddenly I want to break out into the blues.

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    Why don’t these @#$* things come with slides! I curse.

    Enter eBay.

    I go to “Musical Instruments” and enter “trombone.” Ah, just what I want - a vintage silver Conn 88-H bass trombone in excellent condition. Large bore, large bell. Extra tubing to hit really low notes. This model is favored among symphony trombonists for its rich strong warm tones and precision crafting. Price $1,500.

    Okay, let’s keep looking. Lookee here! A King 2B! I used to own one of these babies. Jazz musicians love these things. Small bore and smallish bell. Bright sound, very quick response, great in the upper registers. Price ... oh crap.

    Let’s see the 88-H or the King? The clock is running. Make a decision (Jeopardy music.) 


    The verdict: Vintage Yamaha student model that was discontinued in the 70s, “good” condition. Price $61.

    Fifty-seven minutes are on the clock, and so far no one has bid. I wait till 15 minutes are up, then place a maximum bid of $75. Ebay automatically starts me off at $62. I go to the kitchen to check out the meal I have going. I return a few minutes later to find I’ve been outbid.

    You no good #@*%! I find myself yelling. I can either fold or raise the ante. Eighty-five bucks, I enter.

    Curses. The little @#^** trumps me with $86. Time is running out and we have a bidding war going on. Ninety-five, I enter. Ninety-six he (or she) volleys back.

    Seconds are on the clock. Time to make a decision. I’m sure my rival bidder has previously entered a higher maximum bid, so if I underbid I won’t have time to respond. So I wait till quantum units before the deadline, then go with $125.

    Ebay enters me at $97 just as time runs out.

    “You have won!” eBay informs me.

    I won! I won! I now own a crappy trombone!  I’m so wrapped up in my end zone dance that I forget to stick voodoo pins in the effigy of the anonymous misanthrope who single-handedly cost me $35.

    The shipping and various trombone accessories (trombone stand, mute, maintenance kit) run as high as the actual trombone. But what the heck, once my PayPal payments clear and UPS arrives at the door, I will be in business. The last time I played trombone before an audience was in the mid-70s. The last time I touched one was in the late 80s. It’s been decades, what’s a few days wait?


  • The next day, flush from my victory, I return to eBay. This time I go to the camera section and enter “camcorder.” But that’s a whole other story.  

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Published On: April 09, 2008