Twelve Steps to Becoming a Lounge Singer

A few weeks ago I finished a story about my goal in life of becoming a lounge singer. I sat down, progressed through the normal process of putting my thoughts into words, and finally published the story on the web site. I was proud of myself for creating a witty and insightful glimpse into the inner workings of my mind. The misspelled words were few, the grammatical errors were minor, and I even managed to make the idea of gratuitously beating up a helpless old Dutch man seem funny.

Fortunately, something happened to me at a local drinking establishment on Thursday night that made me understand the story wasn’t finished. Of course it was finished in the sense that I emailed the story out to everyone with no way of getting it back. But in another sense it has just begun. My eyes opened up to the bigger picture.

I feel my situation is quite similar to the artist who painted “A Friend in Need” (often times referred to as “Dogs Playing Poker”). While I could dedicate an entire story to the social ramifications of this piece of art (NOTE TO SELF: write an entire story about Dogs Playing Poker sometime in the future) , I would like to focus on the fact the painting contains not just six dogs sitting at a table playing poker, but also a painting in the background. I can just imagine C. M. Cooledge when he realized the need for this additional image in order to complete his masterpiece. His vision was complete.

This phenomenon is not uncommon even in our high tech society. Often times I find myself sitting on my couch perfectly content watching, say, live stadium motocross when I suddenly become aware of a world existing beyond the boundaries of large piles of dirt, motorcycles, and even ESPN. What I like to call the “bigger picture” is ever changing, but often times gives me a glimpse into the sights and sounds of an entirely different aspect of the world around me– often times in the form of a game brought to me courtesy of the National Football League. An extensive analysis of the television manual led me to the more common term of “picture in a picture”.

So what does this have to do with being a lounge singer? Well, the other night I made the transition from singing in the shower all by myself to singing in front of a bar full of people with the aid of a microphone and Karaoke equipment. For the first time in my life, I actually got up the nerve to get up on stage and let everyone hear my wonderful singing voice. My point here is that singing Karaoke is the motocross on the television screen of my life.

I don’t think I can give a very objective measure of my performance. I spent half the time on stage trying to come to grips with the fact that I was hearing my own voice a half a second later and I lot louder then I normally would when singing in the shower. Once I got used to those differences, I was able to do a half way decent job. I also like to give myself credit for not locking up my knees and remembering to breathe in and out on a regular basis. I have to say that despite the initial worries I had before going up on stage, I really enjoyed the experience. For the record, I sang “Take it to the Limit” by the Eagles.

I know that I am still a long way from my ultimate goal of becoming a lounge singer. My inexperience with musical instruments and the fact that I don’t know of any drinking establishments that use lounge singers are both issues that I will have to address somewhere down the road. I have to play it by ear so to speak because I drove over to the local book store and was unable to find “Lounge Singing for Dummies”. But the fact that I am actively working toward one of my goals is a positive step.

I don’t know how long its going to take for me to become a lounge singer. There is not a formula I can employ that calculates exactly how many steps are involved in this process. As far as I can tell, it is one of those metaphysical questions similar to “how many roads must a boy walk down before he becomes a man?”, “if a tree falls on a lumberjack in the forest, does anyone enjoy the irony?”, or “is Richard Simmons a robot?”

More to come on this topic in the future, if all goes well.