I keep trying. I do. I get excited about the prospect of
going to karaoke, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what song I’m going
to sing and telling everyone about it, and belting out a few bars to show the
world just how totally incredibly rocking and super-D-awesome I fabulously am
going to be, like a rock star. The way that rock stars rock? That is what I will
be doing. Because I am—and I might have mentioned this already, but it totally
bears repeating—a rock star.

I am ready to rock! Woo! We go to the karaoke bar, and we
page through the giant binders to pick out the songs that will make everyone in
the bar pause, and stop, and stare and suddenly feel conflicted in their secret
hearts and shivery in their pants—do they want us, or do they want to be us? Or
is it both? And is that weird? Man, we’re hot.

Everyone gets up and sings and everyone does so
well and I admire my pretty friends who do so well and everyone is
cheering and yay, karaoke, it is fun and we all rule! Then it is my
turn, and things break. What it is, is…I don’t know what it is. I know
that I
am not musical. I know that I cannot carry a tune even if it were a
weapon in a bucket. I know that if I met a note on the street, it would
beat me
to death with its own shoe for the way I have tortured its people over
course of my lifetime. I know I can’t really sing, though sometimes I
convinced that I am not so bad—not actually good as per the
definition of goodness and possibly even vague competence, but surely I
do not
kill babies and dogs when I am in the shower, right? Maybe? Shit.

Let’s assume, though, that my voice is actually passable
when I am on a barstool with the jukebox blasting, in the shower with the water
on full-bore, taking a road trip with the radio going to 11. You can keep your
stupid Grammy—I just want to lift my voice in praise, hallelujah! to "Sexy
Back" and enjoy the way I am not actively killing anyone. Probably. But
when I get up on stage, everything is different. It totally is. The acoustics
are different and the choruses don’t go the way they’re supposed to, and I
don’t understand why the karaoke monitor is telling me that I have to keep
singing this one note when that is a lie or maybe I’m dumb and I never hear the
intro bars or whatever they’re called, and I can’t hear myself at all, and I
start screaming because no one else can hear me either if I can’t, right? I
forget about the whole "microphone" thing. It has come to my
attention, additionally, that I never actually sing the words at the right time
they’re supposed to be sung. There is a Doppler affect happening, when I am on
stage. It is not flattering. Or pleasant. For anyone.

You know, I’ve had spectacular and notable karaoke failures
in the past, but somehow, I was too dumb to let that stop me. But now, there’s
this video. Which I watched for a full minute. And then I had to turn the sound
off because I couldn’t take it any more. And I wanted to close my eyes but I
was afraid to miss something awful I did that I should really know about. With
the advent of this video, I officially give up on karaoke. I am not bad enough
to be spectacular and funny; I am just bad enough to be a little sad. And to
make others pretty sad for me as well.

The fact that I have not only come down
with the Cold From Hell (which knocked poor E. out of the loop for a full 24
hours) that makes me want to die a lot, but I have additionally lost my voice
entirely. I go "croak" and it hurts and that is the punishment I
deserve for yelling OH OH OH OH, SWEET LOVE OF MINE at a room full of people,
fully three notes behind the actual song. Every time I cough and it is like
razors across a blackboard in my soul and knives in my head, that will remind
me, and maybe even scar me deeply enough to keep me away from the mic, for all

5 Replies to “karaohgodnoke”

  1. oh silly. you’re supposed to be bad at karaoke. that is the point of karaoke. drunk and bad. If you were sober and good you’d be singing in church.

  2. How you can up with these gems each and every day continues to stun me:
    “I know that I cannot carry a tune even if it were a nuclear weapon in a bucket. I know that if I met a note on the street, it would beat me to death with its own shoe for the way I have tortured its people over the course of my lifetime”

    You absolutely rock, Anne! Your writing always inspires me. Maybe someday I’ll grow up and be half as good as you?

    Your decision to quit the 9-5 and go freelance is the world’s great big gain. I can’t wait to be the recipient of more of this writing.

  3. Oh, Miss Thing, please. Stop being so damned hard on yourself — you rocked the mic. You were having fun and that is really all that matters, not how you think you may sound.

    I would rather listen to you on a karaoke stage any day than the people who go up thinking they are the second coming of Mariah Carey and turn out to be made of fail.

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