What I Did This Hallowe'en

Newsgroups: alt.kids-talk
From: Chris Reuter
Subject: What I Did This Hallowe'en
Organization: what is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!

[According to dagbrown, semi-humourous autobiographical material is
 appropriate for this group.  If that's not the case, flame him.]


Hallowe'en is traditionally a time for the commission of antisocial
acts.

Well, OK, it's really about going door to door asking for refined
sugar products, but there's an undercurrent of the antisocial to the
whole thing.  So, in the spirit of the season, I engaged in an act so
antisocial as to be just barely legal.

I speak, of course, of Karaoke.

And not just any Karaoke.  No, I engaged in group singing
of--gasp--music from the 50's.  That's right--boomer nostalgia.

Now, before somebody indignantly announces that they happen to LIKE
music from the fifties thank you very much, I should make it clear
that while I may not like a particular musical style, that doesn't
mean I think it sucks and that anyone who likes it needs therapy.  It
just means that I don't like it.  That's all.

Unless it's Country Music[1].

How did this happen, I hear you ask.  The answer is simple: someone
asked me to.

Specifically, somebody cute said, "You are going to sing, aren't
you?"  Immediately, an enthusiastic "yes" slipped out, clearly
originating somewhere below the advanced, mammelian layer of my
brain[2].  And so, I was committed.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  It seems that the church youth[3]
group I attend had decided to celebrate All Hallow's Eve by layering
anti-social behaviour upon anti-social behaviour.  Karaoke, yes, but
in the context of a 50's party.  That's right--we were all to dress
like Happy Days extras.

Now, I'm a semi-proud member of Generation-X.  I once even managed to
feel a profound sense of self-rightous despair over how the previous
generation had screwed up the world[4], so living out the previous
generation's rose-coloured memories of what was a truly stiffling era
naturally didn't appeal to me.

Plus, I don't own a black leather jacket.

After briefly toying with the idea of going as Joseph McCarthy, I
finally settled on jeans and my authentic 1954 Darth Maul T-Shirt and
headed out to the party, thus neatly avoiding the costume-clad darlin'
li'l munchkins who would soon, parents in tow, knock on my door and
shout the traditional Hallowe'en greeting: "I need to go poo."

At the party, I played a game of "eat the dangling donut[5]" and sang
"Yellow Submarine"[6] with the Boy^H^H^HGuy's Choir accompanied by
music played off a genuine 50's-era multimedia CD from lyrics
displayed on a post-war video projector.  I suppose that would have
covered it, standing at the back of a crowd and bellowed out, "Weeee
all live in a yellow submarine..."  but it wasn't really singing.

Beforehand, scanning through the list of available songs, I'd realized
that it wasn't quite as bad as I'd expected.  Sure, there were no good
songs from the 50's on the list, but there were a couple of CDs of
Beatles stuff.  I don't actually own any Beatles CDs either (I keep
searching the various bargain bins but I can't find any) but a couple
of the songs had been covered by bands whose CDs I did own.  There
were two songs I actually knew the layout of, Eleanor Rigby (covered
by The Violet Burning) and Norwiegan Wood (covered by Veil).

There really was no choice in the matter--a song about the alienation
of modern life vs. a song about misogyny[7] and furniture?  No
comparison!  I signed up for Eleanor Rigby.

And then I got nervous.  There were three people ahead of me on the
signup sheet, you see, and that gave me time to think.  And then there
were two people, and I'm desperately humming the chorus of Eleanor
to keep it in mind.  And then I'm next, and the current singer's
coming to the last verse and...

At this point, I became an arrogant prick^W^W^H^H rock star.

Well, I decided to play the part.  I'd realized that my best weapon
was an attitude[8].  I strutted onto the stage[9].  The audience
cheered politely, so I grabbed the nearest mike and said, "I can't
heeeaaar you."

Louder cheering.

"I thought Waterloo had some rock fans."

Still louder cheering.

The mike stand was too low so I adjusted it.  Arrogantly.

I introduced the song: "This next song deserves a better death than I
can give it."  Then I stepped up to the mike, took a breath, and--

Nothing.  The guy changing the CDs was still futzing with the player.
I can't believe I have to work with such incompetents.  I turned to
him and said, "Any time now."

The song started, catching me by surprise.  Fortunately, there's
enough intro that I could find my place.  And so, tapping my left hand
rythmically (so I wouldn't miss a beat) and grabbing the mike (so I
wouldn't lose it if I accidentally kicked the stand), I nailed the
song dead.

Er, I mean dead on.  Anyway, afterward, people came up to me and
told me that wow, I could actually sing.  I'd dropped out of
character and so was able to appreciate the compliments.

So now, I want to become a rock star.  Am I too old for that?

Oh yes, and I talked with some of the instigators again last weekend.
It seems they've planned another willful and premeditated act of
karaoke.  Only this time, it's music from the 80's.  I am, like so,
utterly, definitely IN for that.


      --Chris "killed the raaaadio star" Reuter





[1] ;-)
[2] Several feet below the advanced, mammelian part of my brain.
[3] For alternate meanings of "youth".
[4] For about fifteen minutes--I couldn't suspend my disbelief longer.
[5] A game that is far, far more wholesome than the title would lead
    you to believe.  Unless you're a nutritionist.
[6] Shortly beforehand, the Girl's Choir (a.k.a. everyone female at
    the party) had sung[10] My Boyfriend's Back.  While they were
    singing, I went around suggesting that The Guys go next and also
    sing My Boyfriend's Back.  They didn't go for it.
[7] For some values of misogyny.
[8] Note: this does NOT work when playing any sort of war game
    involving hand weapons.
[9] Well, the spot of floor behind the microphones.
[10] For alternate values of "sung".

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