I happen to have become somewhat familiar with the campus at the University of Texas. It's a long and somewhat unbelievable story of how that came to pass, but it involves business, pleasure, and dinner at a restaurant called Vespaio.
I have, therefore, several times enjoyed the rather intimate rooms at the Mansion at Judges Hill, just on the campus outskirts. From my window, I have seen and heard drunken, hairy people, all dressed in brown, offering their most interesting and harmonious proclamations about the state of Texas, the world and their personal future, as they returned to their garrets.
So how can I not be both surprised and proud that a student at UT has just beaten the world Rock Band 2 record? According to The Daily Texan--and no one argues with The Daily Texan unless they wish to be severely horned--a junior in civil engineering named Matt Smith banged his way to history by beating his own drum for more than 7 hours.
During what seems even longer than a Springsteen gig, Smith's challenge was to prove himself superior to the previous record score of 10,687,033, which had been set May 16 by a person from the Bronx.
Perhaps mindful of Texas' need to prove it is bigger than the moon, the stars, and Elvis, Smith kept hammering away until his points total was 14,727,919.
"I had been playing for the past few years, but I bought the Guinness Book of World Records of 2009 around October of last year," Smith told the Daily Texan. "We were looking for records to break, and my friend showed me that one. I thought I could do it, so [October was] when I started working on it."
It's not easy or cheap to break a Guinness World Record. (In fact, it might be easier and cheaper to drink yourself to death with Guinness.) To persuade one of the Guinness World Records adjudicators to be present at your attempt to gain temporary immortality costs $5,000.
However, there is another way--media and expert testimony. So Smith talked David Ramazani into being his expert. Who might he be? Why, none other than the software department manager at Fry's--the place where they're always claiming they're better than BestBuy.
For those who would feel denuded without such information, Smith broke the record after banging his way through his 58th song, the Who's "Pinball Wizard." Smith says he did experience some numbness in his pedal-side foot, but, like all the greats, he played through it.
You're wondering how he managed to stay hydrated, I can tell. It seems he sprinted between songs (and he never knew what the next song would be) to a water fountain.
You may also be wondering whether his parents might think he is several drumsticks short of a KFC variety box. Smith explained to the Texan: "My parents didn't really support playing video games, but they support getting world records. They're kind of in a weird position, I guess."
Parents love a winner. They always have. So kids, if you're still growing up and don't think you'll ever be a Colt McCoy or Tony Romo, take up your sticks and start training now to break Smith's Rock Band 2 record. I have a feeling you'll be such a hero that you'll be able to finally please your old folks and attract your own Jessica Simpson or Carrie Underwood.
Or at least those nice girls Jessica and Carrie who are really into successful civil engineers.