Walking past the Bell Tower a few days ago, I saw a kid strumming an acoustic guitar.
Students often play their guitars there, thinking for some strange, inexplicable reason that others would like to hear it. The worst part was the eerily depressing music coming from his guitar. It sounded like a tortured kitten mixed with Elliot Smith’s dirge, with the crying of a recently orphaned 3-year-old thrown in for good measure. The guitarist looked exactly like you may expect: long, moppy emo hair and a tight black T-shirt that probably said something like “Hawthorne Heights – Man, We’re Such a Joke of a Band.” I was impressed he was even able to play the guitar considering he had 15 rings on each finger. I was also angered by his music selection.
All I wanted to do was sit on the bench and eat my delicious ham, egg, cheese and tomato sandwich. The sensuous smell of the eggs wafted into my nostrils, but I couldn’t even focus on my lunch. As I went in for the bite, he started singing in a nasal, whiny voice that sounded like Gilbert Gottfried with a head cold. I couldn’t even eat. My senses were so offended that I had to move away and eat my sandwich elsewhere. Unfortunately, the damage was done. My lunchtime was ruined.
Here’s what I don’t understand: Why do people have to play their guitars in public? It really seems like a solitary activity, unless of course you’re playing a concert. Regardless, I could deal with the acoustic strumming if these kids ever played something worth hearing.
They never, ever play anything good. Usually it’s just some boring, slow Radiohead song or some boring, slow Coldplay song. Hey, look, we get it. You’re a long-haired, wannabe rock star attempting to project an image of self-loathing to score some girls. That’s nice. Go play Guitar Hero in your room and tell your high score to some chicks in a feeble attempt to impress them. You and I would be much happier that way.
If you don’t have Guitar Hero, and you absolutely must obey your soulful mandate of music, then please, play something good. Play something upbeat and, uh, happy? Is that asking too much?
You want to really impress me? Play some ska. Yeah, I know it died in 1998 or so, as I’m reminded of nearly every day, but some of us still love it. A simple, tasty ska riff is comforting no matter who you are. It’s the only thing I can do with a guitar, and I’m musically challenged. So I know you can do it as well.
Or, play some punk music. Maybe just a few chords of a Clash song, or some NOFX or 30footFALL. In other words, anything other than what you’re currently playing.
Actually, allow me to clarify that. Don’t play “punk” music. You know what I’m talking about, the garbage-filler produced by twentysomething, glam-rocker, makeup-wearing pop-stars. Please. If I ever hear a My Chemical Romance song being played around the Bell Tower or on the ledge of Liacouras Walk, I will take your guitar and smash it across your tasteless
face. Also, on a semi-related note, if you’re one of those kids who wears ties with a T-shirt, for the love of everything good, stop! Come on, you look ridiculous. I like ties, and I like T-shirts, but you don’t combine the two. That doesn’t make you punk-rock. It makes you an idiot who can’t dress yourself. Maybe you shouldn’t have come to college; you should have stayed home and had your mommy dress you every morning.
Stop playing your depressing music where everyone else has to hear it and – with the exception of you – we’ll all be happy.
Mike Gleeson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.