With my own bare hands

Published 3:21 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

Sometimes in life, we are called to a higher purpose. We are asked to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of others, to participate in humiliating acts that tear our dignity asunder and leave in its place naught but air.

Saturday, April 10th was definitely one of those nights. Except that going into it, leaving with naught but air was kind of the point.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well, on that fateful Saturday night I competed in the Washington, D.C., Regional Air Guitar Championship.

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In case you were wondering why such a goofy thing exists, I am too. But regardless, I and Polk Countys own Brady McReynolds joined 17 strangers for a celebration of pretending to play an invisible guitar in front of a concert hall full of people, and it was awesome.

Brady and I arrived at the venue roughly three hours before the competition was set to start, full of pluck and determination, and proceeded to wait around for an hour until it was time to find out what, exactly, wed be doing for the rest of the night.

The very nice and very professional U.S. Air Guitar tour crew explained that we would be judged on a scale from 4.0 to 6.0 just like figure skating! and that judges were expected to base their scores upon three factors: technical merit, stage presence, and airness. Airness is an ethereal quality that cannot be described but a judge is said to know it when they see it.

While this was explained to us, Hott Lixx Hulahan, former World Air Guitar Champion and current US Air Guitar Regional Judge, explained to us that all that stuff really didnt matter.

The only thing were really looking for, he explained, is whether you rock or not.

I, wearing my skin-tight pink muscle shirt that prominently featured a startlingly accurate portrait of a deer and sporting my freshly dyed blond locks, noted this, as did Brady, who was sporting not one, but two Mohawks on top of his head.

We drew cards to determine who was to rock in which order. I came up tenth, which is all things considered a fairly good place to be.

Gamely, I waited my turn. When my time came to perform, I burst on stage in a ball of fiery blond fury. I strummed my invisible guitar. I thrashed around. At one point, I jumped onto the shoulders of a friend who was situated in the crowd. All in all, I thought I did fairly well.

The judges, however, had other things to say, and many of those other things were fairly negative. Sadly, I lost the competition rather soundly to a fellow who was dressed like an Egyptian pharaoh. If I had to guess, I came in about tenth out of twenty.

But will I do it again next year?

You bet I will.