With the possible exception of 16th century German alchemists, no group of people have sold their soul to the devil more often than musicians. Robert Johnson is said to have left town a mediocre guitar player, dealt with The Devil at the Crossroads, and to have come back a year later one of the most prolific blues musicians ever. Niccolo Paganini, who was a drunken gambler at the age of fourteen, played the violin with his eyes rolled back in his head and did nothing to quell the rumors that his preternatural skills might have come from a similar deal. And, of course, a Faustian contract is the only plausible explanation for the success of Insane Clown Posse. Either that or Cleveland. Take your pick.
So. What can we learn from this? Well, first off, selling your soul doesn't always lead to extraordinary skill (note: ICP) or a long life (Johnson died in his late twenties). Also, no one ever sold their soul to play the tuba. For that matter, there could be countless other musicians who similarly bargained but never achieved enough fame for us to either gawk at their precocious genius or mock them until they weep uncontrollably. Of course, that didn't stop me. I just got off the phone with Satan, and when I get home, I will shred on the accordion.
See, it's been, well, not a life long dream per se---I guess more of a momentary obsession---to own an accordion. And now? I've got one. But, when you live in a three-level Victorian with eighty-five other people, the accordion isn't the...subtlest of things. In fact, it's like playing a fog horn. Plus when you're still trying to work out which buttons are the minor chords and which the majors, you make the kind of noises that cause cats to chew wallpaper. So, in the interest of not getting evicted or driving my flatmates to the brink of justifiable homicide, I decided not to practice at home, called Cingular, who put me through to the Devil (their CEO, actually), and we chatted. He told me why G.W. goes to bed at 8:30, about the time he had tea and scones with Kevin Federline, and why he removed his name from the final print of "The Adventures of Pluto Nash." Then, we made our deal. My soul for ridiculous accordion prowess. It was easy. Painless even. At least for now. Added bonus: Lawrence Welk, now my bitch. And that's never a bad thing.