Jacob Calle has been a dedicated vegan and animal rights advocate for more than a decade. He planned to lead a protest against Ringling Bros. circus in Houston this past Saturday. "Behind the doors, the animals are mistreated and abused by hooks, whips, and electric prods. We must deliver this message to the public by standing outside of the entrance of the circus and averting [Ringling's] violence torwards animals," says Calle. However, Calle was unable to protest, having fallen victim to an unfortunate injury at an air guitar competition two days earlier.
All was going well early in the Houston regional air guitar contest. In the first round, Calle (aka "The Golden Ghost") played along to an impressive 60-second "audio montage." But when he performed to Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" in the compulsory round, tragedy struck. "This is where I climbed to the ceiling of the venue and hung upside-down to air it up," says Calle. "When I jumped down my leg landed straight, and like an ostrich, my knee went the opposite direction."
Calle wound up placing third and falling 1.1 points short of the first-place score. He is confident that he would've gone to nationals were it not for the injury, a sentiment echoed by the U.S. Air Guitar Blog.
Now, instead of competing for the right to go to Finland and represent the US of A in the World Air Guitar Championships, Calle is unable to walk right for at least a month. He adds, "Try taking a s*** with a cast on. I can no longer drive, I made a mess in the kitchen, I have people tie my shoes and put my left sock on. My life is going to suck, and we haven't even begun to discuss surgery!"
Calle's situation illuminates how even though the instruments in air guitar are fake, the injuries are quite real. This year's Brooklyn champ injured her toe following a big jump and had to get the digit amputated immediately after her heroic performance. A D.C. contestant hurt an ankle by jumping off speakers and limped around afterward. And in 2006, a teenager in Singapore fatally defenestrated himself after, in the words of a court's ruling, "jumping up and down on the bed placed against an open window, while mimicking a rock guitarist." Air guitar is a dangerous sport.
Calle is bummed about his bum leg, but he continues to believe in the power of air guitar. It's often said that air guitar is about world peace, because anyone with an air guitar in his or her hands cannot hold a gun. Calle astutely adds that "because you are holding an air guitar you can not be holding a gun nor a hamburger." Indeed, the social justice movements of air guitar, world peace, animal rights, and environmentalism are all interconnected. Advises Calle, "Not only do trees produce the air that we breathe but they also produce our air guitars. Save the trees. Recycle."
heebnvegan sends its best wishes to The Golden Ghost for a speedy recovery, a first-place finish next year, and the veganization of Texas.