Wednesday, April 08, 2009 keeping with the humiliation theme...

...and lest you mistakenly think I'm not the biggest dork you've ever heard of...

I always wanted to be a singer. In my heart of hearts, I've always known I was meant to wail it out and do a lot of very fancy yelling, bending the entire universe to my sublime will. There've been a couple hiccups along the way, though.

Grandpa would play guitar and insist I sing Skip to My Lou and I wanted-- really and truly wanted-- to sing, but I felt shy and embarrassed. I know: go figure.

In fifth grade, my best friend was a girl named Karen.
Karen had nary a shy bone in her body. She was super cool. Her face was dusted with freckles, her dark hair falling in lank strands to her shoulders, and I was transfixed on that broken front tooth which I thought made her look really special. Gosh, I wished I could have a broken front tooth.

[Uh, hello! Warped. You already knew this.]

Anyhoo, my quest for world domination seemed finally to be taking off when Karen (not me!) had the brilliant ideer we should sing a duet in the school talent show.

Jimmy Sides played his guitar and sang "Operator." He was so cool, and, y'know: mature. All the other fifth grade boys were so dorky. In retrospect, I'm sure Jimmy would have preferred to play something by KISS. I like to imagine the Jim Croce number is a secret shame he carries to this day, much like the song I'm about telling you here, and that his parents prolly made him sing that song.

Karen was adamant we should sing in the talent show. I had a better voice, better style and sense of nuance, etc., but all that didn't matter a whit. Karen had in spades a trait I utterly lacked: sheer and abiding gall. I wanted to sing something pretty I'd heard on Lawrence Welk. Karen had the brilliant idea to sing the horrid song featured below. Honestly, I can't bring myself to write the very name of this wretched song. Horrors. Horrors!

So, anyhoo, we *cocked brow* decided we'd sing (sans yodeling) this rather than the Lawrence Welk 'stravaganza. Mom thought this song was just adorable. *cringe* The audition was fine-- we had to sing for a gaggle of teachers. It's easy as can be to sing in front of people you don't respect. *yawn* Bastiges. However, come the day of the talent show, the whole of the rest of the 5th grade through 12th grade, parents, faculty et al? Guar-damn-teed constipation cure. Srsly.

I rather fancy Karen had to drag me out onto the stage. Once at its center I stood there mute and dying inside as Karen sang her little fifth grade balls off. I swear I was crying, but I don't know. I heard the blood rushing through my own veins, my breathing enormous and labored. The gym beyond the proscenium telescoped out, accordion-like till all the universe was that room awash in faces and eyes and bad 1970s fashions. The accompanying music clattered on gaily, so cheerfully that it fairly begged for a bloody nose.

I think I didn't utter a single peep the entire song.

Surreal torturefest ended, we turned toward the wing and I stumbled zombie-like as I looked over at Karen, who was smiling out at the audience as she marched resolutely offstage. I remember seeing the kind, pitying eyes of Miss Fogelman as she ushered us through the huge, heavy velvet curtains. Thank goodness that is over!

It's amazing how silly moments will stay with you, isn't it? No, I'm not embarrassed now. Singing in front of people doesn't bother me at all these days. However, if I had to sing this song in front of anyone, even my puppehs, it'd probably kill me!

don't tweedle-dee-dee me.


alan said...

I'll have to tell you the time I "sang" in the 3rd grade school play.

You'll have to get me drunk first.


I thought I had that one nicely repressed. Thanks. :)

Ranger Tom said...

Does this hit home... I know exactly where you're coming from. I had an experience just like yours in the 5th grade...

I was utterly mortified.

Jay G said...

Okay. Since it appears to be soul-baring time...

No singing stories from me, here (although I did *KILL* Ray Charles' "What I Say" at Karaoke one night, one of the highlights of my life).

No, it's better than that.

Picture this: Confirmation class. A dozen or so teenaged kids and a priest in the church. We're "praying". It's so quiet you could literally hear a pin drop.

And out of nowhere, I rip a force-10 pants-buster.


For a second it was quiet.

Then all holy hell (pun intended) broke loose.

Even the PRIEST was laughing.


It gets better, though.

Flash forward to about two weeks ago. Mrs. G. is talking with one of the other Daisy moms when picking BabyGirl G. up from Daisys.

Other mom comments, "Grazio? I think I went to school with your husband. His name is Jay, right?

Mrs. G. responds in the affirmative.

"All I can remember about him is when he farted in church during confirmation class"


Yep. That's my claim to fame...

DirtCrashr said...

5th grade was Boarding School, it was bad, very bad...

Buck said...

I think Les Paul and Mary Ford did a pretty respectable version of "Mockingbird Hill" in the waaaaay-back. It ain't ALL bad!

Great story, Phlegmmy.

Anonymous said...

My daughter to my biased mind has a great voice and loves to sing - to her self or on the internet (read if she can't see anyone watching.) Her usual gift to me is a self made Cd with songs from Charlotte Martin maybe or a few in Japanese or Chinese which she became interested in. She did a karaoke thing in Austin a couple years ago with a friend I did not get to see but vodka was involved there. She is minoring in both of the above languages at Tech now and has gotten roped into doing some of her songs as her "paper" or "projects', her teachers like her voice also I guess and it has been good for her. If I am in the area she sometimes will sing what she did for me without vodka.

If she woulda had to do a duo of anything in the fifth grade think I would of lost her, she was pretty shy.

That was a nice story.


phlegmfatale said...

alan - I'm scared!

Ranger Tom - What IS it with the 5th grade???

Jay G - So you are a confirmed stinker? Figures!

DirtCrashr - There we go with the 5th grade theme again

Buck - I can't quite bring myself to listen to it...

Ben - well I suppose a happy ending IS possible. You must be so proud to have such an accomplished and talented daughter. Then again, not surprising when you consider the good parenting... :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that compliment,there is more to her though. I got a call from her today saying a curb had got in her way, one she hits all the time with no problems but her car steered funny this time so she had taken it to my old mechanic. She was mortified repair costs were close to 400 bucks and did not know what to do so she called after the repairs were done. This is a car I am trying to find a way to be buried in when it comes my time due to the money I have put in it already. It is on its last legs since she drove it across town with the oil genie lit up after the oip pump quit and I just hoped it might last her until the summer.She goes abroad for two months with her college and I have told her I will help her with a car when she gets back. So I call Nick and am told she knocked a wheel bearing and ball joint out, had brought it in with instructions to fix it but not to call me. I told Nick to put it on my tab and I would catch up next time I get back there.

Now if I actually was a good parent I should of told her she broke it she fixes it. She is the only daughter I got though.


rickn8or said...

That's the thing about karaoke; it combines those people who shouldn't drink with those that shouldn't sing.

Anonymous--kids have no idea how much Preparation H is sold because of them.

Christina LMT said...

I could only listen to a minute of that song...YOU POOR THING!! I can only imagine the horrors you felt.

Borepatch said...

Phlegmmy, I'd pay cash money to hear you and JayG do a duet on Gun Nuts Radio.

Just sayin'. ;-)

phlegmfatale said...

ben - cars come and go. Keep the daughter - we're a better investment. :)

rickn8or - well ya gotta die of something

Christina - It's horrid. At least we didnt' do the yodel version.

Borepatch - Well, for a price, that could be had, Borepatch...

J.R.Shirley said...

I like "Mockingbird Hill". But I can understand why you'd be mortified singing it in front of your peers.