You won’t see this at Merlefest!
The DJ from the local classic rock station took the stage and asked the obligatory question. “Are you ready to rock?” The drunken crowd, full of free beer, roared their unintelligible response. It seemed like everyone, except my group of friends, was there for an air guitar contest and free beer sponsored by a brewery that must not have had the bucks to sponsor a tour that summer. First prize (as announced by the dressed in black Classic Rock DJ): “Three days and two nights in Aca-fuc-king-pool-co!” The first and possibly last contestant was little air-guitar dude (LAGD). Dressed in black pleather jeans and his black heavy metal tour t-shirt with his short greasy hair parted down the middle he carried his cardboard guitar with strings drawn on with a marking pen to the stage (dance floor). The song began to play and LAGD skipped and skittered around the dance floor like Angus Young on speed. The crowd loved him. He veered near our table and I shouted, without really thinking it through, “Jump on our table”. Somehow he heard me and we had to help him climb onto the high wobbly bar table. He crouched, grimaced and played as if he was standing on a stack of amps in front of thousands as we steadied the table until my buddy Marvin called out in a moment of divine inspiration “Do a backflip”. Immediately, LAGD launched himself off the table. It can’t be easy to do a back flip off a wobbly table. Drunk and holding a cardboard guitar? Impossible. He landed head first, pile driving himself into the cement floor dropping his crumpled prop. His girlfriend groupie ran to him and following the first rule of potential spinal cord injury first-aid she jerked his injured neck, cradled his head in her lap and talked to him as she stroked his cheek. The DJ cut the music and announced “Another rock and roll casualty-take him out back and shoot him. Next contestant!” We looked at each other and without speaking, stood and speed walked to the parking lot hoping we could make our getaway before the little guy regained consciousness and told his girlfriend why he tried that stupid stunt. I’m not sure if they canceled the contest but sometimes I wonder if the little guy proved Darwin wrong and lived to tell the story of how he almost died in an air guitar contest.