Taking a break from politics for a moment, which I admit, occupies way too much of my free time and brain power, allow me to vent Andy Rooney-style for a moment against a phenomenon that threatens to overtake one of the few mindlessly enjoyable and affordable outings left to us in these rough economic times. Yes my friends, I refer to karaoke night at the neighborhood pub, sabotaged by a karaoke DJ who gets drunk (I mean this in both the literal and figurative senses) with power.
The night started promisingly enough. I met my friends Gary, Chad, Ed and Romana, along with some of Ed’s pals to celebrate Ed’s attainment of a new job. Clearly with a job market this hobbled, anyone finding employment has every right to call for a night of drunken celebration, accompanied of course with song. We all sipped cocktails, and the crowd was thick and enthusiastic. After a few drinks, Gary gave our table its first taste of the limelight with a rousing rendition of “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls, complete with a sultry finale of spoken flirting. As the great Paula Abdul might have said, Gary made it his own and the night was on. My husband chipped in a typical Eddie Bon Jovi showstopping performance of “Always.” Another gal at our table did Dolly Parton proud with “9 to 5.” Even I added what I thought was a warm-up lark: my own rendition of “It’s Not Over” by Daughtry. Hey, one has to keep the repertoire from becoming stale, and think outside the box.
Our group sang along with everyone else’s songs, liquored up and feeling fine. We booed (Ok, I did that) when someone made what I considered to be a poor song choice, for example say, anything by Mary Chapin Carpenter. But we also whooped it up when someone either had actual talent, or performed a song so fabulous in nature, like the short gentleman who Rick Rolled us, that singing ability mattered not. And then….
Nothing. For nearly 3 sad hours we sat waiting for our table’s rotation to begin again. Though the place was crowded, any good karaoke DJ knows that you must intermingle the incoming would be singers with those who have been there all night, drinking, tipping and raring with liquid courage to display their talents. Not so, Mr. I Am Short, Bald, Powerless and Unnoticed In My Day Job, Therefore I Must Lord It Over The Whitetrash Crowd At Freaking Gio’s On A Saturday Night. He kept putting all the newbies at the front of the line, and even went so far as to assemble an ill-advised string of duets, before promising to get us back to our second songs by 1:00 AM. Now those of you who regularly karoke get what I am about to say. When you have been sitting on a bar stool drinking since 9:30, had your first adrenaline rush with your warm-up piece at 10:15, and have continued to booze and shout for the next two hours, you are angry, hoarse and exhausted by the time 1:00 AM rolls around. Worse, the energy of your friends has flagged as well, lending the whole evening a decidedly depressed feeling.
Well I decided this was unfair. We had all been so high. Pleas to the by now totally inebriated KJ went unheeded. I will not, repeat, will not give a performance that is beneath the expectation and deserving of my audience. So, before Eddie could treat the crowd to the much-anticipated “Livin’ on a Prayer” and before I could debut my Taylor Swift (I will not tell you gentle readers which chart topper of the teen’s I was set to perform. I leave you in suspense for another time!), Eddie and I united in walking out of Gio’s in a grand huff. We are seriously holding a grudge this time, and may yet decide to find another drinking establishment that respects our celebrity status. While we mull it over, Mr. KJ better not think he is getting any more friendly waves from me on the Metra (yes, ironic and odd to see your KJ as a normal commuter). Nope, no siree.