Tag: Free Bird

Stuck at home, man explores strange new sedentary realms

After struggling for weeks to adjust to the new government mandated stay-at-home routine, Ray Harris can finally report he’s achieved a near perfect state of blissful inactivity.  Accustomed to “hitting the ground running” everyday, Ray initially bristled at the idea of being “cooped up” 24/7. After all, his friends called him Free Bird, and everybody knows “this bird you cannot change.”   

But Ray eventually did change, and, as he’d heard good things, decided to see what this Netflix business was all about.  Soon, however, the act of scrolling and searching for new programs to watch seemed like a lot of unnecessary effort. Reading and turning the pages of books became a tedious exercise.  Even following the superficial disputes between guests of daytime talk shows required way more brain power than Ray was willing to expend. At that moment, Ray made up his mind to embrace idleness in a manner never before thought humanly possible.   

One day, Ray acquainted himself with an ant that had somehow, improbably, found its way to his upper story bathroom.  The ant had been hanging out there for days, and often greeted Ray at the sink, standing on its hind legs whenever Ray popped in for a brisk hand-washing.  The old Action Ray would have smashed the interloper with a kleenex and flushed him down the toilet. But Idle Ray had come to enjoy their brief exchanges, sometimes spending hours seated on the edge of the bathtub watching the ant explore its surroundings, wondering why the tiny adventurer had left his posse down at ground level to scale the plumbing up to the second floor.

Soon Ray began spending extended periods of his day sitting as still as possible.  The combination of extreme social-distancing and intense inactivity allowed Ray to achieve what can only be described as a state of sedentary nirvana.  He was able to slow the electrical activity in his muscles to a weak trickle, and his calorie-burn rate dropped to well under one per minute. His muscles started to atrophy at three times the normal rate, and the neural activity in his brain began to dim like a rolling blackout.  

Just then, before he could commence the process of shedding years from the end of his life, Ray felt a light tickling on his nose.  He wanted to scratch it, but remembered the prohibition against touching one’s face and stopped himself. Instead, he opened his eyes, and strained mightily to cross them and focus inward on the end of his nose.  There he saw the ant standing on its hind legs, shaking four fists, and berating him for God knows what. Ants can be such sanctimonious bastards. Ants also work like hell. This little fella was probably giving him shit for his unfathomable laziness.  Having stood at the edge and stared into the abyss, Ray withdrew and thanked his little buddy for saving him from couch potato oblivion.

Group seeks to make ‘air guitar’ less white and less male

A group of men in Toledo, Ohio is doing their part to make one of their favorite activities a little more inclusive.  The group was inspired to take action after reading stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times about Apollo 11 era NASA’s almost entirely white, male culture.   

“For pretty darn near going on forty years, me and my buddies have been getting together, drinking a few beers, listening to records, and when the mood strikes us, playing a little air guitar,” says Dennis Johnston.  “Well, after reading a few newspaper articles, penned by some very insightful journalists, it began to occur to me that maybe I’d been wielding my air guitar as a tool of oppression.”  

Unable to shake off the wise words of those east coast journalists, Johnston describes an evening  when he tried tuning out of the key of privilege, and into the key of inclusivity.  

“One night I’m just sitting there watching my buddy, Darryl, lose himself in a Free Bird guitar solo.  Now, Darryl’s no slouch on air guitar, and I must have watched him play Free Bird a hundred times, but I got to thinking, I wonder how a female would interpret this solo?  Would she make the same red, sweaty facial expressions? Would she deploy the same clumsy gyrations and body contortions? Would she flick her tongue around in the same disgusting manner as Darryl?  Almost certainly not, I thought. Might she instead soar gracefully to the music, ride the bird’s wings, and paint a different picture with her air guitar?”

After that experience, Johnston set about trying to attract more women and non-whites to join their group of invisible axe wielders.  They set up a Facebook page and held open auditions, but their invitations seemed to attract only more older white dudes.   

“Sadly, it turns out women and people of color aren’t very interested in air guitar,” says Johnston.  “I had thought my implicit bias was discouraging others not like me from participating in our group. However, now I’ve got it on pretty good authority that some folks think air guitar looks kind of ridiculous.  Oh well, we’re still free as a bird, and this bird you cannot change.”