One or Two Will Do (Short Answers Work Best) (Issue 802)

In which we are reminded to limit our responses to client questions to one or two ideas at a time.

The text came in from a close friend at about 11:30 Friday morning and, I was so busy during the afternoon, I didn’t notice it until I was easing into bed about 11 hours later.

“Happy Friday!  I hope your week is going well. I’ve been listening to a lot of old country and folk music. I remember that you like Fleetwood Mac and Peter, Paul & Mary. Are there other favorites you could recommend?”

I taught myself to finger pick an acoustic guitar listening to Peter, Paul, & Mary’s records. I have a deep affection for their work and for the work of many of their contemporaries.Elegant young man in smart clothes and hat holding guitar

“Sorry for my slow response. Yikes, there are so many. Early favorites included Pete Seeger, The Weavers, The Chad Mitchell Trio, the Kingston Trio, and the Limelighters. Tom Lehrer for political satire. Gordon Lightfoot was a huge favorite.  The Byrds. The Mamas and the Papas, particularly their ‘If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears’ album. Very early country – The Carter Family.  More modern: Hank Williams, Patsy Cline.  I’ll stop there.”

“Ha, ha!”, he wrote back.  “Thank you!”

“The album, ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken’ by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, would be worth a listen. Check it out on Wikipedia first… You’re welcome.”

“Ha, ha!”, he wrote back. “OK.”

“That album, the first of three by that name, is bluegrass and old country music. Doc Watson is a favorite on the guitar.”

“Ha, ha!”, he wrote back. “Good night.”

“Huh!”, I thought to myself.  “I guess we’re done for the night, then.”

As I pulled up the sheet and blanket to settle in for the night, I thought, “What were you thinking?  (A) Fleetwood Mac and Peter, Paul, & Mary are not exactly sitting in the same musical pew, so what is he likely to be looking for? (Maybe you could have asked a question?) And, (B), you gave him 14 recommendations. Fourteen!!!!! How does anybody deal with fourteen recommendations, Mr. Runs On At The Mouth, Mr. Oh, I’m So Glad You Asked. Mr. I Have So Many Ideas. That could be the last time he asks you for counsel on ANYthing!!! I’m glad I wasn’t there to see his eyes glaze over.  “Don’t ask that Miller guy for a recommendation. You’ll be sitting there for a week!”  Thankfully, he was polite about it.

If he is brave enough to ask for another recommendation, I think I’ll give him just one or two…. One or two options to start with… and he can ask, “How about some others?” if he wants more.

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