Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh Mickey What a Pity: A City Mom in the Ring of Fire

Saturday night I tried Karaoke for the very first time. Perhaps you noticed your dishware cracking? It would have been around seven p.m. Central Daylight Savings time.

Friends of ours were having a 25th anniversary party and to celebrate they had a huge bash replete with live band karaoke. The host went first, which I thought was well…thoughtful, because it helped break the ice—at least as much as the Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

I don’t know why I have this unnatural fear of Karaoke. Oh, wait. Now I remember. It has to do with making an ass of myself in public. But the saying about how you should Do one thing every day that scares you came to mind. I love that saying. But scare is one thing. Terrify is another.

When my husband and our sons took the stage to sing Johnny Cash’s, Ring of Fire, they were wonderful. I was so proud. Captured the whole thing on video.

“When are you going up there,” my husband asked.

“Hopefully never.”

My voice is not the worst, your busted-up stemware notwithstanding, but singing in the shower or screaming out the words to Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World while I clipped my young sons’ fingernails is one thing. Singing in front of a crowd is quite another. (The Jeremiah was a bullfrog technique really works. The boys would immediately stop squirming and become mesmerized, allowing me to clip their nails. Over time, this method became so useful in snapping any of us out of a negative state, we began to refer to it as “The Frog.” e.g. “Look at mommy being crabby. We need to give her ‘The Frog.’”)

On Saturday, my friend, we’ll call her “LynĂ©e,” was very encouraging, though. She’d just tried Karaoke for the first time recently and said she’d sing a song with me, telling me she was afraid the first time, too, but then after that it was like, Hand me that mike. Uh oh.

We looked over the playlist. We picked Toni Basil’s Hey Mickey. Easy song, right? Wrong. Turns out there’s no background melody except during the chorus, which we nailed, if I must say, but we were totally lost during most of the rest of it. In our defense, there was no follow-along video screen but only written lyrics, with instructions in red ink that said stuff like “sing this four times” that I didn’t notice until we were almost finished. (I could NOT wear my reading glasses up there even though my friend Rick told me he was pretty sure all the rock stars do it.)

Ethan even put down his video game controller and found his way out of the basement to watch his mom make an a— I mean watch his mom try something that scared her and this more than anything else made me happy I’d done it. Honestly, I don’t think many people cared or judged or were even paying much attention to the fact we’d gotten lost with the lyrics. But I do know if I don’t get that video back from Ethan, he will be getting The Frog indefinitely and unmercifully.

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