36. Karaoke Night

I will begin this entry with a disclaimer. I know a number of people who, through rogue genetics, enjoy performing karaoke. Some even do it sober. Believe it or not, I actually associate with some of these people and call them my friends. I acknowledge and respect their tastes, in the same way that I respect certain cultures that ram plugs through their lips and wear the shrunken heads of their great-grandfather. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. This entry is not intended to be an attack on them. It is intended as an attack on the institution of karaoke itself, which I believe will be the ultimate cause of humanity’s doom.

Overdramatic? Perhaps. I submit for your consideration a hypothetical alien race sent on a recon mission to Earth as part of a Clean Up The Universe Initiative. One step into one of the countless karaoke bars across the world, these technologically and mentally advanced beings will catch a snippet of some poor drunk businessman’s rendition of “American Pie”. In the next thirty seconds, the scouts have teleported back to the mothership and the Earth has been vaporized like Alderaan in A New Hope. All of the scouts will receive a special commendation from their planet for Outstanding Services in Ridding The Universe of Evil.

This is only a scenario in my head at the moment, but who can say that someday it cannot be reality? I would be willing to blame Japan for all this, but  their responsibility for the Godzilla films has given them complete diplomatic immunity in my brain.

I had the joy and benefit of experiencing my first true “karaoke night” in a bar last night. The bar in question was located in Pittsburg, Kansas (Tourism Slogan: “Home of Stuff”). I wasn’t doing myself any favors. This, coupled with my pre-existing colossal loathing of bar drinking, didn’t bode well for my overall night. However, I was willing to go into it with an open mind like Jesus or an equivalent person might behave. As I stepped into the establishment and heard a piercing cover of “Bring Me To Life” delivered by a girl with a fake tan, cowboy hat, and the world’s smallest pair of Daisy Dukes, I regretted my decision. It was further regretted when my order at the bar was continually drowned out by her “high” notes that bore an amazing resemblance to microphone feedback, leading me to scream my order several times at the poor bartender. I may have the voice of an 80 year old punk singer with emphysema today, but at least I finally got my fucking Shiner Bock.

Now, I’ve seen a handful of karaoke performances by capable singers that did not make me want to punch myself in the neck and curse the fact that God gave me ears. These people are the exception. For every halfway decent karaoke performance, there are a dozen off-key affronts to human decency. I’m already trying to contend with a thousand things at the bar anyway. I’m trying to talk, shoot pool, calculate how much I’ve already spent, deduce what the waitress might look like without her makeup, finish my drink as quick as possible to move onto the next one, and godknowswhatelse at any given time that night. The last thing I want during all that cognitive activity (which is becoming increasingly blurry) is a six person chorus of the damned singing “Piano Man”. I’ll blow the Earth up myself as long as the aliens give me a free room.


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