Karaoke Kills

Karaoke Kills

For reasons I won’t get into, I’ve been thinking a lot about karaoke lately. Mind you, while I’m southeast Asian and have grown up with a karaoke machine in the house, I do not actually view karaoke in a positive light. In the wrong hands, karaoke can be an evil thing.

Take my father, for instance. He loved karaoke, but all he ever allowed himself to sing was one song. Just one. Again and again. Over and over. Unabashedly. Without restraint. And in front of an audience.

This song, of course, was “Moon River” beautiful and sweet when sung by Audrey Hepburn, but ear-scarringly awful when sung by my dad, who never (and I mean never) seemed to hit the right notes at the right time.

To add insult to injury, he sang only when he was roaring drunk. Yes, drunk… with his syllables slurring as he bellowed the lyrics to the next county. As a bonus, my Uncle Bill would join him in drink and song, and the two of them would carry on like dying whales, both of them believing they were a couple of suave lounge lizards serenading the ladies (un)lucky enough to watch and listen.

The ultimate bonus? They would do all this out on the balcony at twilight, where the neighbors could see, hear, and be tempted to throw shoes or knives.

I’m telling you, it was pure unadulterated evil. It was embarrassing as hell. I spent my teen years hiding in my room as they sang in drunken splendor—my door and windows closed, my curtains drawn, and my eyes and ears tightly shut. I might as well have been listening to nails on chalkboard.

I think the cops actually came to visit us once, after a neighbor called about them “disturbing the peace.” My father and my Uncle Bill nearly wept when they had to stop; they ended up crying in their drinks and passing out on the couch.

So there you have one example of the misuse of karaoke.

I simply don’t have the nerve tonight to even think about all the other karaoke wrongs I’ve seen done. For now, this is evidence enough that in the wrong hands karaoke kills. If you remember just one thing from my sharing this experience, remember this: Friends don’t let friends karaoke drunk.

And that, dear reader, is my public service announcement for the day.

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