AIR GUITAR IS A VESSEL
I’ve been competing professionally in air guitar for over half a decade now, and over the years I've talked a lot about air guitar. It usually starts with describing what air guitar is, and more often than not you can tell in that moment where the conversation will go. A person will either respond with some level of disgust and will non-verbally let you know that they could care less about what you have to say. Or, you will see a burning curiosity in their eye. It's from that moment I can tell whether or not my efforts will be wasted on preaching the good word to this person, or if I am planting a seed into a potential life long fan of air guitar.
I always say it's one thing to describe competitive air guitar to someone, but it's an entirely different thing to see it live. You need to see it to believe it. There really is something magical that unfolds on stage during an air guitarist's 60 seconds of rock and roll stardom. The performer and the audience become one and the audience forgets for a moment they are watching someone play an invisible instrument. They become enthralled in the performance, believe what they are seeing, and an adrenaline-fueled energy is then bounced back and forth between the performer and the audience.
One thing that an audience member may never experience though is the joy that I, Justin Howard, personally experience from air guitar. Air guitar has given me a purpose in life and one in which I can talk about unapologetically. It's not just the physical act of playing the air guitar, dressing up like a hairy Viking, or shedding blood on stage that I see as my life's purpose. Instead, it is everything that surrounds the actual performance itself. Air guitar has allowed me to literally travel the world, learn words in foreign languages (although mostly dirty), make friends, tell stories, hear stories, make strangers laugh and really learn to wring as much joy out of life as I possibly can.
When I first started competing in air guitar I heard U.S. Air Guitar co-commissioner Kriston Rucker say, "Air guitar is like a vessel. It's up to you to decide what goes in it." I thought that statement was a little heavy at the time, but as I prepare to enter my 7th year as a member of the air guitar community, I have taken away from it something very personal. I honestly believe everyone deserves to be happy in life. No matter what it might be, everyone deserves to find his or her "vessel" and it is their responsibility to then fill it with what makes him or her happy. I’m very lucky in that I have found mine and that it just so happens to be air guitar.
Wed 27 Jun 2012
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