March 27, 2009
Musical Masturbation Renders Teen Banjo Player Temporarily Blind
WEST NEWTON, MA — Gabe Hirshfeld, a highly promising teenage banjo prodigy from Massachusetts, has returned home to be with his family as he recovers from a severe, acute loss of vision suffered during a recent late night jam.
The jam, which took place in West Newton, MA, at local band Crooked Still’s afterparty, started out very well but soon grew beyond a controllable size, beginning a steady descent into musical decadence and depravity.
Hirshfeld, who is known for his sweet banjo tone, flawless technique, and a very refined sense of taste, also has a well-deserved reputation as a restrained and considerate human being.
But even he was powerless to resist the party’s musical temptations, and as the jam slowly but inevitably devolved into an amoral orgy of self-indulgence the hesitant boy gradually succumbed.
“I knew it was all over when Jordan Tice put down the guitar and picked up the bass. He started slapping it really hard, you know, making it all funky,” said Sam Stambler, a guitarist who participated in the jam.
“Since when does Tice even know how to play the bass?” asked one confused partygoer.
“They all launched into this extended funk jam, real late-night party style, with no real melody whatsoever and nobody but themselves even listening,” said jam connoisseur Aidan O’Donovan, a host of the party.
According to eyewitness accounts, for several minutes young Hirshfeld resisted the urge toward self-gratification. Unfortunately, the allure of the other musicians’ whoops of delight and strangely ecstatic faces eventually overcame his moral defenses.
Suddenly, the boy stepped directly into the center of the jam circle and purposefully began to execute a furious and unremitting stream of triplets, sliding his hand repeatedly up and down the fingerboard, faster and faster, harder and harder, more and more intensely.
He soon entered a fantasy world full of luscious electric bass grooves and irresistible, pounding drums, with thousands of adoring fans screaming his name as his triplet-intensive solo approached its inevitable up-the-neck climax.
“I’m always telling my students not to wank so hard in these jams, because you can absolutely go blind from it,” said John McGann, a professor at the Berklee College of Music and former Winfield champ whose own highly-publicized, years-long struggle with musical temptation is the subject of an upcoming memoir.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to go through life blind?” he added. “I was blind for most of my late teens, early twenties.”
Indeed, Hirshfeld soon began to stumble, his arms groping forward through the darkness. He had clearly lost his sight.
Others at the party offered moral support, if not medical attention.
“Relax kid, it’s only temporary,” said banjoist Greg Liszt, who recently performed an entire show in Pittsburgh wearing sunglasses for undisclosed reasons.
“I am so ashamed. I swear to God this will never happen again,” said Hirshfeld, clearly chastened by the experience.