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CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #202

Tonight's story about Sheldon's ego being crushed following his encounter with a young prodigy has its roots in my own life. Around 1974 I was playing guitar for a living in Miami Beach. I was twenty-two years old and thought I was really something. In the parlance of musicians, I felt I had some "serious chops." Nights I played clubs, hotels, and private parties. For a few months I worked in a lounge band on a cruise ship. I even landed a day gig playing acoustic solo stuff at a coffee house in South Beach. That was where a professor from the University of Miami saw me play, dug what I was doing, and invited me to audit his jazz guitar class at the university. I happily accepted, thinking I might be able to teach the kids a thing or two. I still remember the first class, me sitting in the back proudly holding my beat-up '64 Fender Strat, while the college students all cradled expensive Gibsons. Of course, this only made me feel more smug. I was a working musician. These were rich kids in a rich school with instruments that daddy bought 'em. But then something happened that would change my life forever. A painfully shy, sixteen year old boy walked into the room. He could barely speak nor make eye contact with anyone, seemed dwarfed by his big jazz guitar, and was ludicrously introduced as a visiting professor to the university. His name was Pat Metheny. I'll never forget how I felt when he began to play. It was an imploding feeling, like the kind you get when your ego is being demolished like an old Vegas casino. Thankfully, the feeling was accompanied by a soft, reassuring voice in my head that whispered, "Find work in television, nobody's a prodigy there." Thirteen years later I listened to that voice (I may have been deluded, but I was no quitter). Oh, and Pat, if you happen to read this... thank you.

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1st Aired: 14 Apr 2008

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