Well, ladies and gentlemen, here it is late Easter Sunday night, and Judy and I just got home from San Diego, hence, chapter 8 will have to wait til next weekend.

However, I thought I would take a few minutes and divert your attention with a short tale of educational woe…

While writing this biography, I have dragged up lots of memories about which I have not thought in at least forty years.  One of them, in particular, has had an immensely nostalgic effect on me – my first guitar – the Sears Silvertone Model 1457 with the Amp in Case manufactured by Danelectro Company…  Why I ever sold it, I’ll never know – oh wait a minute – I sold it to buy a Sears Silvertone Model 1488 guitar and Sears Silvertone Twin Twelve Model 1485 Amplifier…

At any rate, I got to wondering if there was any information on the internet about the 1457 so I Googled it.   Google is stuffed with the thing. In fact, there is a picture of it at the end of chapter 6 that I found through Google.

As fate would have it, one of the sites where I found “my” guitar was Ebay.  I clicked on the link from the search engine and – Voila!  There were several from which to choose.  There were also several model 1448s – the single pickup, ¾ scale (18 fret) pre-curser to the 1457, one of which sort of caught my eye.

Not having any experience with Ebay, I started flipping through the pages and noticed that they all had a “watch list” button.  Apparently a free Ebay membership is required in order to use this feature, and when you use this feature, you get emails informing you that that particular auction is going to be coming to an end so you better get your bids in quick!

It was at this point that I also discovered PayPal, and how to sign up for that…  It’s not at all difficult.

I quickly built my watch list up to seven items, including a 1448 without the case included.

As the first auction was coming to a close, I decided to see if I could snag a 1457 for under $200.00.  With two hours left, the bid was $125.00 (I had seen where they had gone for up to $1500.00 – In fact, Mick Jagger had just sold his for something like $15,000.00 a few weeks before and 125.00 sounded like a great bargain).

At ten minutes left, I put in my very first Ebay bid – $127.50. I was the high bidder for about 30 seconds – it was exhilarating! Then I noticed a button labeled “maximum bid,” and I wondered what that was for.  I suspected that it was a way to name a max price I would be willing to pay for the item, and I confirmed my suspicion by utilizing the “help” feature on the site… I decided to get gutsy, and set a maximum amount of $180.00 and I became the high bidder again at $132.50 (I figured that nobody would get that high with only two minutes to go in the auction).

One minute left and I was still the high bidder…

Thirty seconds left and I was still the high bidder…

Ten seconds left and I was still the high bidder – This was easy!!

Two seconds left and I was still the high bidder!!  Break out the champagne – I was going to get my guitar back!!

Zero seconds left – the winning bid was $182.50…

Wow… Somebody is really quick on the trigger…

Well, after some thinking and searching for information on how that could happen, the next “my guitar” was about to end in about an hour.  This time I was going to be ready.

This time, however, the current high bid was $214.00.  I did some unbelievable mathematics and decided that my max bid could be $328.08 (taking into account the advertised shipping costs) and waited till the auction was down to 20 minutes… I set my max at $328.08 and went away for awhile…

When I came back I still had the high bid of $280.00.  I was hopeful…  while I was gone, I did some mental scheming and planning.  I decided that I could get away with going over my established limit by a few bucks, and that I wasn’t going to lose out on this one at the last second… I developed a new – never before, in the history of Ebay, tried – strategy.  It involved the use of two computers, nearly inhuman coordination between the left and right sides of my body, an ungodly amount of patience and self-control, and a new maximum bid of $356.16.

The idea was to use my left hand to refresh the page on one computer so I could keep track of the high bids as time ran down, and my right hand to click the “place bid” button to enter my new max amount with as close to one second left as I could manage, thereby lifting my max bid to an amount I thought would be higher than the guy who was attempting to do roughly the same thing I was doing, but with less money.

I still had the high bid of $280.00 at the three minute mark…

I still had the high bid at the two minute mark…

I still had the high bid at the one minute mark…

At forty-five seconds, someone out bid me by $5.00…

Left hand refresh… Left had refresh… Left hand refresh…

At ten seconds the high bid was at $290.00 – the critical moment was almost here…

Left hand refresh…

Five seconds… still at $290.00… Right hand click – just a split second before the auction ended…

WINNING BID!!!!!!!!!!!   WINNING BID!!!!!!!!!!!   WINNING BID!!!!!!!!!!!   WINNING BID!!!!!!!!!!! $756.plus a few cents…

Hmmm… I was chagrinned…

I decided that I needed some practice.

Ebay has a new tool called “Countdown.” It’s a free download, and it’s guaranteed not to generate unwanted spam or give your computer some sort of virus, so I downloaded it.

What it does, basically, is display all of your “watch list” items, as well as the items you lost out on because you were so cheap.  You select the item on which you next want to bid and it pulls up the time left and current bid info.  And it counts down…  Like a shuttle launch, only you’re more emotional about the Ebay countdown, for some reason.

Well, I launched it, signed in and, sure enough, there were all of my watch list items.  And the ones I already lost because of inexperience and cheapedness.

The next auction to expire was the exact guitar I didn’t really want, so I thought I would just bring it up to the top, watch the process and analyze the machinations of the system. There was still about an hour and a half left on this one, and the bid was stuck at about $170.00. I left the page up and went away to get in some exercise on the home gym in the garage.

When I came back, it was down to the eight minute mark and the bids were already up to $275.00. I could tell this was going to go berserk in just a few minutes – it had already come up over $100.00 since I started pumping iron.

I sat down at my computer, and decided that I didn’t want this guitar, but I wanted to practice on the system.  I used my major mathematical skills (using square roots, cosines, triangles and the theorems I had made up in Brother Anthony’s Geometry class) to come up with the perfect dollar amount to lose the bid on this guitar.  $301.96.

I also decided to wait till the clock ran down to five minutes before I placed my practice bid.

Five minutes – I place my maximum bid…  I am the high bidder…

Two minutes – Current bid $280.00.  I was perfectly comfortable with that because I knew the real bidding starts at under one minute, and I’m only twenty-one dollars up.

One minute – The screen goes red and the bids start coming in…

Thirty seconds – $290.00 – Come on come on come on!!!

$299.00…

Fourteen seconds – Somebody bids $305.00 – Yeah baby!!  I’m off the hook and I’m NOT going to put in another bid!

Countdown… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Auction over… My calculations were EXACTLY RIGHT ON THE MONEY!  I had this figured out…

Hmm… It still says I’m the high bidder… I looked again… Yes, that’s what it says, alright…

I went to my email and there it was…  The official “Congratulations! You Won” email from Ebay…

Wait a minute – that’s not true.  I was outbid by a couple of dollars…

I investigated more closely…  I HAD figured it right. Unfortunately, I had transposed the “0” and the “1” when I set my maximum bid and had inadvertently set it at $310.96.  I had out-bid myself… I sat there in stunned silence…

At this point, I realized that I had just spent $305.00 plus shipping on a guitar I didn’t want to buy.  Now comes the Primal Scream, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” as I left my office and stumbled toward the other end of the house…

Judy DID NOT come out of her office at the other end of the house but yelled  “What did you buy?” just as I was walking in her door.  This was a tactical error on my part…

There are few things that make a man more uncomfortable than “The Look“.  One that comes close is “The Question“.  It always starts with the words “What did you…” and ends with something like “do…,” “mean by,”  “expect,” “say…,” or “buy“.

This, of course, was the “buy” version of “The Question.”

The usual male response to “The Question” is two fold.

  • Fold One: Deer in the headlights look on the face while trying to formulate a verbal answer that is at once believable and safe.

  • Fold Two: Falling all over your tongue while trying to put into words the believable and safe answer that you have not quite yet formulated, but you know that if you don’t say something RIGHT NOW it will be too late no matter how plausible your answer sounds.

(Many couples have mastered the art of completely dropping the “What did you” part of “The Question” and just using the completing word or phrase, thereby saving effort on the part of the woman and jump-starting the misery for the man.  I am blessed that Judy utilizes the “Proper” form, giving me that extra second to try to come up with the answer that I know is not there.)

Because I had entered her domain, I had to deal with the lethal combination of “The Look” and “The Question”.  Unfortunately, I often loose sight of reality when I put myself into this situation, and I can’t get a sentence out without breaking into laughter.  (This has been especially dangerous on occasion, but I can’t help it.)

In one sense, this situation was different.  I had truly done this by accident, and no amount of clumsy wording on my part could change that fact.  However I was true to the male code and fumbled over my mouth to the point where I almost didn’t believe me and I KNEW it was TRUE.  I guess I can’t blame Judy for having her doubts….

Well, to make a long story end, mercifully, sooner than much later, the guitar was delivered on Thursday.  It’s forty-five years old,  It’s almost the size of a large ukulele and it took awhile to get used to the fact that it only has 18 frets.  But when you take into consideration that it’s probably the best sounding guitar I own (and I own several), it’s well worth it.

And, besides, I could have been practicing on a Cheeto that looks like Chuck Noris…

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that I have been banned from Ebay… And not by Ebay….

Here’s a picture:

My Accidental Guitar

I’ll pick up with chapter 8 next weekend…

Addendum 11/26/2010… This guitar was lost in the fire that took our house in September, 2010… Bummer…

BUT… I just replaced it with my 1488… Here is a picture…

Reconstruction of the "Guitar Wall", or just "The Wall", begins

 

___________________________________________________

Back to Brief Diversions…

https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/links-and-first-lines-to-brief-diversions-non-bio-related-musings/

Back to Home…

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3 Responses to “My Accidental Guitar or How Ebay Works”

  1. billkammerer Says:

    By the way, lest anyone in the San Diego area feel slighted that we didn’t come see you while we were down there, please don’t – We got into town at about 7:30 Saturday night, went to chruch with Judy’s dad at 10:00 Sunday morning, had “dinner” with 3/4 of our kids and Judy’s dad, sister and brother-in-law at 12:30 and left for home at 2:30. We still love you all!

    B

  2. Jennifer Rosile Says:

    I think you mean to say 2/4 which of course would be 1/2 of your kids were fortunate enough to have Easter dinner with you.

  3. billkammerer Says:

    Oh yeah… You weren’t there.. Well, Frankie was, so I guess that counts for 1/2 of you, so I will count it as 5/8 of my kids. Thank you for giving the chance to prove my mathematical prowes…

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