Thursday, January 19, 2017

Favorite Snap From College

This man is probably a respected member of some community somewhere, so his identity should be preserved.
My senior year at school I took the above picture. I don't remember the purpose, but I might have used the image to promote my radio show which was important to me at the time.

The guy pictured, let's call him Jim, is wearing a Johnny Lujack leather football helmet (TBI just thinking about it). Lujack was the 1947 Heisman Trophy winner -- the photo was taken in 1989. The shirt has the college radio station logo on it. The guitar is the most important item.

Jim had dyslexia, and had been volunteering his time to help teenagers find strategies to cope with their dyslexia. Jim had been bringing his guitar to this group. One day I looked at the guitar and realized it had been smashed and pictures of women in underwear from a catalogue had been glued on it.

Jim explained that he had lost his temper at the kids he was mentoring and had shouted, "Smash my guitar, I don't care, just get the hell away from me."

Without pausing for a second, the entire group of kids sprinted out of the room, racing to be the first to smash the guitar. Jim was right behind them, but wasn't quick enough, entering the room as the guitar was being whacked to the floor in adrenaline fury.

Why the kids glued the pictures of women on the guitar was never explained. Was this their concept of ultimately profaning the guitar? Were the underwear models some statement about the commoditization of sex? 

Somehow the impossibility of grasping the meaning of the guitar came to represent the fanciful nature of trying to have interesting opinions about art. I saw the photo as some sort of rebellion against too much analysis -- eventually things are just as you perceive them. Done.

So play the music, put on the Johnny Lujack, and wax philosophical about nothing in particular. Time well spent.


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