Monday, May 25, 2009

The Emptiest of Orchestras

Karaoke literally translates as, "empty orchestra." And this evening, I participated in this hollow pursuit. 

To be honest, I actually love karaoke. I think it is the Japanese part of me, and the half of me that not-so-secretly wants to be the singer in a band. Somewhere out there, in four-track cassette land, there exists a two random tracks of me singing songs recorded with an old college roommate--one an odd emotive country ditty, the other some pogo-punk think with a faux-British accent. Hey, I was nineteen. 

About four years ago, while I was working on my master's degree I took an immersion journalism course. The purpose of this class was to embed oneself into an environment and write about it, much like the journalists who were at the time joining troops in Iraq. My cohorts spent time at nursing homes, bookstores, shelters for runaways; I to the contrary, chose to spend every night for six weeks at a karaoke bar.

At the time I had a passing fancy with karaoke culture. By the end of the class, I was sickened by the who enterprise. A person can only listen to Fly Me to the Moon, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and other songs that allude to celestial bodies a specific number of times during a six-week period before experiencing mental and physical collapse. The number of times one can hear those songs is four. The times I actually heard them was at least thirty. 

Needless to say, it took me a year before I could set foot into a karaoke bar again. 

I don't quite know why I am writing. I am tired...and I nearly got stuck got stuck singing the Aimee Mann version of "One" as opposed to the original Three Dog Night single.

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