My singing is so bad it almost resulted in an arrest one night. A group of my co-workers and their spouses gathered one evening at a bar in Great Bend, Kansas, to celebrate the birthday of one of our friends. As it happened, the bar featured karaoke, and after we’d had a few drinks some of us began putting our names on the list of singers.
I was a karaoke virgin, but not a hesitant one. Once my name was called I practically leapt to the microphone and promptly butchered “Leader of the Pack” by singing when I shouldn’t, and not singing when I should. It looked much easier when I was just spectating.
Now anyone with a smidgen of self respect would have called it quits after the first go round. Maybe my smidgen was missing that night. I signed up again and again, and while I became better at following the bouncing ball my voice never got even a little better. But, everyone seemed to be having a good time so what was the harm?
Studly doesn’t sing, but he sat there drinking a beer, or two, or five, cheering me and the other members of our group on. The birthday boy (we’ll call him Bob) and I decided to sing a duet to “I Got You, Babe,” the classic Sonny and Cher hit. Bob could actually sing, so our duet had an interesting sound to say the least. I was trying to channel Cher, but ended up sounding like Oscar the Grouch with Kermit the Frog in his throat.
That’s when the heckling began. An inebriated couple–an incredibly skinny man and equally incredibly beefy woman–started yelling hateful slurs at Bob and me during our song. I was oblivious, but Studly was not. He asked the inebriated pair to shut their mouths. They impolitely declined. Our song ended, but on my way back to the table I was grabbed by some friendly folks to sing “Goodbye Earl,” so I stayed in the spotlight where I felt I’d always belonged.
I’d never even heard the song before, so I was kind of talk-singing the lyrics when I wasn’t laughing. The inebriated couple grew louder. Studly was busy defending my honor. I was still oblivious. I remember looking up from the karaoke screen to see an officer of the peace putting handcuffs on my husband. For some reason, the gravity of the situation didn’t phase me even a little bit. I calmly announced to my fellow singers and the room at large that I needed to go because my husband was being arrested.
I hurried to Studly’s side and arrived at the same time as one of the bartenders who came to Studly’s defense. According to the bartender the female part of the couple launched herself at Studly about the same time that I was singing about Earl dying. Studly held her off without actually hitting her, but she was big and strong and he finally had to give her a less than gentle shove to move her away from him. That’s when the police walked into the bar.
Just as in my favorite cop shows the officers escorted both parties to separate locations to grill them about the incident. I watched from the sidelines thinking, “Book her Dan-O!” With multiple witnesses corroborating Studly’s tale he was freed from handcuffs in a matter of a few painfully embarrassing minutes. In the end, he was asked if he wanted to press charges against his attacker. He declined. He just wanted to put the whole episode behind him. Too bad he’s married to me.
Just for the record, I am now a karaoke veteran, but Studly is banned from my performances until I actually learn to sing. In other words, it’s a lifetime ban.