123Valerie Strikes Again

Unprecedented Self-Indulgence.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Me Against the Galaxy (Hut's Karaoke Night)

Alright already. Enough of the sad sack talk. Last night, my Dad told me was gearing up for his first 12-hour night shift driving a tow motor at a local factory. My 59-year-old Dad, a professional man who should be settling into retirement, has just started a new job working nights at a factory job.

I'm beyond proud of his commitment and optimism, but also a little puzzled.

"Dad, are you guys that hard up for money?" I asked.

"Oh, no. Just trying to stay out of trouble. I figure if I work nights it leaves my day open for interviewing and stuff."

Hmm. Alright, then, Dad. Enjoy your new steel-toed boots. His determination has prompted me to "Kwit Yer Bitchin, 123Valerie" about love and life and get out there and enjoy it.

And how do we best enjoy life? With beers. At the Galaxy Hut. In the company of Megan Jane, Sean P.K, his lovely girl Taylor, JennyJenny8675309 and Shea. (Shea once spent an entire evening wearing a handlebar mustache made of mascara while we were out in public. Kirstin, do you have a digital photo of that? If not, this realistic rendering will have to suffice.)

It was karaoke night, and also the eve of Shea's birthday, so after Megan Jane beat me down, I reluctantly took the stage. Or the little space at the front of the bar behind the booths. Same difference.

I love listening to karaoke. I love watching karaokers. But I hate, Hate, HATE doing karaoke. I never know what to do with my hands. And should I dance? Is dancing encouraged? And there's always the awkward time before the singing starts. What should one do during the 16 bar instrumental? I like to leave these dilemmas to the professionals. And there are professionals, kids, specifically the people who come to karaoke with their own CDs. One word: Dedication.

But, it was almost Shea's birthday, so what the hell, right? I'm supposed to be "living" again. Now, I know that one should pick a karaoke song based on popularity and the likelihood that the crowd will sing along. I KNOW that. But I don't care. Because I think of karaoke as a performance, and because I have enough issues with getting up in front of people and singing, I always choose something that a) I know the words to really well b) doesn't have a lot of those 16 bar instrumentals and c) is somewhere in my vocal range.

Last night's victim was "I'll Have To Say I Love You In a Song" by Jim Croce. I was taking a big chance, I knew that. Slow, 70s, Jim Croce—all things that were against my success. But, fuck it.

I ambled up to the linoleum, took the mic and tried my best Rat Pack banter with the crowd. They were all, "Eh, just shut up and sing." Okay, okay. The music started and it was the wrong effing song. Well, crap.

"Um, 'scuse me. That's not what I wrote down. I can't sing this particular 70s favorite. I'm a tool. Thanks."

Technical difficulties behind us, I started out only to realize that the accompaniment was in a much lower key than the actual song. This is also why I hate karaoke—you never know what you'll get. So, I stumbled through as best I could and tried not to sound like Bea Arthur. Fortunately, I made it to the end, but finishing was probably the best part. The crowd was lukewarm, at best, about my musical selection.

There is something so wholly defeating about giving a sucky karaoke performance. Trudging back to the table, Megan Jane and Shea gave me knowing glances. "I told you to go with Lisa Loeb's 'Stay'," said Megan Jane. I should have listened.

I was feeling pretty down about my off-kilter karaoke when a trip to the bathroom offered some relief. Ha! I'm so clever. Don't ya'll just love me? Anyway . . .

Whilst I was waiting in line, a very nice gentleman came up and said, "I love Jim Croce. You really inspired me to choose "Operator" for my song. I don't think we hear enough Jim Croce these days."

Well, there you are. Changing lives one bad karaoke performance at a time. It just feels good to give back. So, many hours later and many hours later than I planned to be leaving, I finally swallowed the last sip and headed for the Metro.

Then I turned around to give Megan a copy of Jaury's bidness card in case she wanted to show someone her feet. Then I headed for the Metro.

"Not so fast," said Fate. "The last train left two minutes ago." Oh, maaaaaaaaaan.

Megan Jane wasn't answering her phone, so I called Shea and received an immediate invite to sprawl on his very comfy couch. However, one small glitch—Shea and 567Devin are roommates. So, there was much potential awkwardness involved with a good night sleep at Shea's. Nope, better to try Megan Jane again and suffer the consequences of her exceedingly stylish, but terribly uncomfortable IKEA couch.

"Hi MJ. The Metro left without me. Can you believe those bitches didn't wait? Anyways, I know you have to get up super early and attend to a horrific bunch of 8th-graders, but can I bunk at your place?"

"Of course, 123V, and there's some leftover meatloaf. Help yourself." Isn't it weird how if you just changed one letter in meatloaf you get funny words like "meatload" and "meatloan" and "meatleaf"?

Oh, Megan Jane, your hospitality and your loaf of meat saved me. That's what friendship is about right there.

I'll spare you the uneventful ride home on the Metro this a.m., except to tell you that I sat next to a man who had several verrrrrrrrrrry long hairs growing out of the mole on his cheek. Do you think people with that particular physical attribute don't realize this or just don't care?

In any case, I am safely back home with Wonder Dog Bean, leftover Chinese food and my toothbrush. Life is good. So, Kwit Yer Bitchin, kids.

In the Comments section, tell me your favorite song to karaoke. The winner gets a slab of Megan Jane's amazing meatloaf.


  • At 11:02 AM , Anonymous Megan Jane said...

    Oooooooooooooh, V. I just knew you would recap the lovely eve that was last in a way that would make me laugh out loud! And girl, if I ever scrape together enough money to buy a new couch, I will purchase a longer one with you in mind! Fer realz. (See? I'm already ghetto enough!)

  • At 11:36 AM , Blogger Kristin said...

    I heart Galaxy Hut. I heart your writing and you and Megan Jane. Life is good.

  • At 11:38 AM , Blogger Kristin said...

    Oh, and I like to karaoke "Sweet Home Alabama" 'cause everybody else sings a long and drowns out my off-tune and off-kilter keening.

  • At 11:34 AM , Anonymous Allison said...

    i sang gwens spiderweb the other night. it was faster than expected but at least i had a duet partener AND it was at the end of the night so i felt safe!

  • At 3:57 PM , Blogger Brokekid said...

    karaoke make me angry.


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