By Seth Littrell

A new trend is sweeping through Eastern’s campus this year, and no, I’m not referring to flashing. A mysterious new group of people have been seen in droves walking around campus and making their presence known to the world. Who do I speak of? Wandering guitarists.It happens every time I leave my dorm. Any time of the day, whether I’m going to class or grabbing a bite to eat at Powell, I run into at least one person with a guitar on his or her back. Sometimes I even see them traveling in packs, with three or four guitarists wandering around campus without any clear goal. Now, I’m not hating on guitarists, I just want to know: Why?

Don’t get me wrong, I love guitar music. My mother used to play guitar for the family at big gatherings, and my brother loves to play his six-string. Guitar music has been a part of my life since I was little. But almost every guitar I see on campus has one thing in common: it’s in a case, not being played. Why bother carrying a guitar around with you everywhere if you’re not going to play it? That’s cruel and unusual punishment. Every time I see a wandering guitarist, it hurts me. It’s like you’re dangling the promise of music in front of me, but at the same time promising me I won’t get to hear any.

If they were only on the sidewalks, going to and from music classes or visiting friends, I could deal with it. But they’re everywhere. I walk into Powell to get some breakfast after my morning class – guitarists. I wait for my girlfriend to meet me for a night out – guitarists. I pack up my things to go home for the weekend, and I have to stop my car to let guitarists cross the street.

But, once again, I never see a guitar out of its case, and I never get to hear anybody playing. I’m not picky about music either. Rock, country, bluegrass, folk, I’d enjoy listening to anything, and any music would be preferable to the usual noisy bustle in areas like Powell Corner.

The fact that I never hear any music has led me to a simple conclusion. All or most of the wandering guitarists now scouring Eastern’s campus do not know how to play the guitar. I know a diverse group of people who play the guitar, and they all have one thing in common: They all love to play the guitar whenever they can, even when its annoying to other people. Why? Because they’ve worked hard at mastering a musical instrument, and they want to share that mastery with the world. I haven’t seen one of the wandering guitarists match this criteria.

So now I want to ask, nay, plead for a change from all the wandering guitarists on campus. If you don’t know how to play the guitar, put it down every once in a while. If you’re learning to play the guitar but, like me, are still unable to strum out anything that sounds remotely like a song, put the guitar down when you’re not practicing. Stop trying to get respect you haven’t earned.

Finally, if you know how to play the guitar and have entertained friends and family with your musical talent, take the guitar out of its case every once in a while and play it. I guarantee you people will stop what they’re doing and take notice of you, and that’s how you build a fan base. Plus, it could only help make campus more lively after students have slogged through a long day of classes.

For those of you who find yourselves on the fence between any one of these groups, here’s a simple yet effective test to accurately group you where you belong. Take your beloved guitar, find a nice, shady bench on Powell square and play your best. If people point and laugh, then I’m sorry, but you are in Group One. Keep working hard and your time will come. If people take only a quick notice of you then proceed to ignore you, you fall into Group Two. That’s my group, by the way. Don’t feel down, we just need to keep practicing. If people definitely take notice, maybe you can see them bobbing their heads or tapping their fingers on their books, maybe they even stop for a few minutes to hear you finish your song, then congratulations, you’re in Group Three.

You have earned the right to carry your guitar anywhere and everywhere you go. Remember though, with great power comes great responsibility. So try to liven up campus every once in a while.

Please, we want to hear you play.