Monday, December 11, 2006

The Greatest Game You’ve Never Played

Karaoke might just be the grown up’s equivalent of the bounce house. Actually I’m convinced of it. It’s the perfect party time killer and attraction. It’s this generation’s fondue party or our version of every couple putting their car keys in a bowl. Oh, that’s what ‘swinger’ means? Ewwwww. Well anyway, I think Karaoke as a must-have party item is here to stay and I was recently introduced to a slight twist on the amateur singing way of life.

The female coworker of mine (who has often been my muse) was telling me about a game that she and her family often play. It’s a karaoke game for the Play Station 2. Apparently it is a lot of fun and keeps score, so you get to sing and compete. The game is sophisticated enough to alert you when you need to raise or lower your pitch as well as play sound effects of a crowd cheering you on or booing you off stage, whichever is most appropriate. Perhaps it’s not a good idea for the little ones to participate though. Especially since getting booed by a fake computer generated audience while singing is exactly the type of negative reinforcement a child doesn’t need. Can you imagine having to go to a psychiatrist when you are older only to be told that your horribly low self-esteem is due to the Play Station’s logarithms determining that you weren’t a good singer at ten years of age? Hey, you might actually have a valid reason to seek punitive damages in court. You just didn’t hear it from me.

At any rate, the Play Station’s Karaoke game sounds like a lot of fun and would surely beat Monopoly or Pictionary at your next game night. Of course not everyone can draw well, but it’s a lot funnier when someone doesn’t sing well. I should know because I’ve dipped my feet into the deep, cold dark waters that is karaoke a few times. I don’t know that the phrase golden throat would apply to me, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

I hit the karaoke circuit a few times back in college. Fortunately since I will probably never meet my blog friends, I can share the details of my karaoke past with you. I will begin by admitting that a good friend and I often performed Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ and yes, we actually had choreography, especially for the climatic ‘who shot who’ verse. Sadly, the audience wasn’t entertained by our telling of Rico and Lola’s passionate disco romance, or something like that. The only award I ever won for performing was thanks to a karaoke rendition of Alan Jackson’s ‘Chattahoochee.’ Of course when I tell you that I won, I should also tell you that it was only a free pizza and half of our performing ‘group’ were of Asian descent. Yes, I do think our victory was certainly helped by the curiosity factor of performers and choice of country song, but I can also tell you that on that particular night, free pizza never tasted so sweet.

I almost had the Clay Aiken beat out of me one night (whatever the heck that means) for singing George Strait’s ‘All My Exes Live In Texas.’ Every Saturday night, the same cowboy would lumber up on stage and do that song. I wasn’t thinking one night and got up there before he did to sing the same song. About 3 words into the second verse was when I saw him and realized what I was doing. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very inspired performance and we got out of there pretty quickly. In a strange way, it was kind of like the Blue Brothers escaping from the honky tonk after singing ‘Rawhide.’ I’ve always felt that my best karaoke performance was with a friend on a duet of ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.’ That duet is not to be mistaken for the time rather recently when I was driving to visit a client with a work buddy of mine while listening to classic country on the radio. Let me assure you that it’s a very sobering moment when you realize that you and another man have been singing Barbara Mandrell’s ‘Sleeping Single In A Double Bed’ at the same time without either one of you being aware of it. Although I don’t think I have to tell you this, I will say that it was most definitely a very quiet several minutes before either one of us spoke again. We got to our client, went to lunch and forbade each other from ever bringing it up again. But please let me get back to the ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before’ duet. I got to sing Julio’s part. Ahh the memories… A flock of dying geese never did sound so sweet.

Like a former high school athlete that whishes to lace ‘em up and get into a pickup game past his prime, this new Play Station 2 game has me intrigued and itching to belt one out for the crowd again. My vocal chords are a little out of shape, but maybe with a lot of practice I can karaoke in Play Station competition. The fire still burns inside but I hope the flesh is able. Yes, I think it’s time to grab that old Michael Jackson sequined glove, my copy of Frank Sinatra doing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ and my Wayne Newton mix tape. Danke Schoen baby, Danke Schoen!


ShadowFalcon said...

Kareokee is a scary experience for me. My sister-in-law likes to go to Kareokee bar "to win". You have to see the fire in her eyes to know how frightening it is.

I can only hope she never hears of this game

Odat said...

You go michael c.! LOL...Sounds like you're a Frank Sinatra wannabe! But you had lots of fun doing it....I'd love that game too, altho I can't carry a tune at all...but i'd like to.
ps I've done my share of kareokee and it wasn't pretty!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

they have karaoke on cruise ships, i don't sing so good though...sad, huh? thanks for the photo, i posted it! bee

Lizza said...

Haha, those moments must've been hilarious, especially the ones with the cowboy; and you and your male co-worker.

Go for it, Michael! This karaoke coward is cheering you on...I only sing in the shower.

SGT DUB said...

Remember thene rule about kareokee, either you have to be drunk or the auidence has to be drunk, only then can you leave with any dignity left

Mist said...

I just spent an hour in Best Buy playing Guitar Heroes. I rock.

Natalie said...

I love the stuff. I can't sing a lick but will get up there and do my thing. I prefer to have partners though because they help me along. The only thing I can do successfully by myself is rap. Humpty Dance is my crowning glory. I don't even need the words.

Dan said...

OK Michael, it's about time you loaded some MP3s of you doing the karaoke thing with your Play Station.

Don't be shy. ;)

thepinkangel said...

hahahaha !! although that playstation game sounds really cool. could be fun as long as I don't have to sing in front of a crowd. I have this disabling fear of singing in front of crowds. Maybe its for the best. :)

Le Nightowl said...

I've never tried karaoke in my life (I'm far too shy for this) although I could give it a try on my own, if I provided my cats with earplugs beforehand :)
Great story telling, Frank Sinatra was indeed some voice (and an exceptional actor, on a different note)

Michael C said...

Shadow: That type of fire does sound scary!

Odat: It can't be as bad as me impersonating Sinatra! ;-) Fortunately, I can bring it like Bing!!

Empress: You are very welcome!

Lizza: I've found that the hot water tends to hurt my vocal chords ;-)

Sgt Dub: That makes perfect sense and congrats again on the Bestes Blog selection!

Mist1: You most certainly DO rock!

Natalie: Anyone who can master the Humpty Dance is worthy of praise in my book!

Dan: If I only had the techno know how to do it ;-)

Pinkangel: just have them turn the music up louder! ;-)

Le Nightowl: I forgot that Sinatra acted. I remember Tony Rome their where his daughter Nancy sang the theme. Now that was some good acting!

lastmango said...

Next business road trip - I'm bringing the music!!!!! Keep up the great blogging!