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Cat on Hot Tin Roof

Everyone is born with talent. Generally, more than one talent. Obvious talents and hidden talents, like being able to twist the stem of a maraschino cherry into a knot (yep, I can), the ability to touch their tongues to their nose (nope, can't do that), or being able to belch out the ABC's, twice, in one burp. (Nope, can't do that either. But respect all who can...right, Tulip?) Some people search their whole lives to find their hidden talents, others discover it immediately. I knew when I was 15 that I have an ear for learning foreign languages. I didn't find out until I was 26 that I am a natural born killer on a paint ball field. Men fear me. I am the surprise warrior, the one every boy figures will be an easy target, right until the moment I shoot them between the eyes. They never see it coming. I am also exceptionally talented at picking off tin cans on a fence with live ammo. Much to Boo's disgust.

I can also draw stick figures well, and paint like Picasso. And I am exceptionally talented at spurting milk through my nose. Ask my kids. They have been sprayed. As I grow older, I discover new hidden talents, whenever I try new things. I also discover what I suck at. Which, as it turns out, is quite a few things. But no one is perfect, right?

As a small child, I harboured secret fantasies of becoming a famous rock star and marrying Michael Jackson and going on tour with him and our children. I used to listen to his music on my radio, and sing into my hairbrush while envisioning our future together. Of course, that future didn't include him feeding his Jesus juice to young boys, or forcing his children to wear table clothes over their heads, but hey, I was eight.

That dream was quickly squashed the moment my dad burst into my room with a panicked look on his face. As I was singing my heart out to Billie Jean, my daddy thought I was torturing our family cat. Apparently my singing sounds much the same as when a cat's tail is caught in the door.

That wasn't the last time my budding singing career was over before it began. I was once asked to sing softer in the school choir so the more gifted voices could be heard over my caterwauling, and my husband threatened to leave me if I persisted to screech If I had a Million Dollars while I showered.

I have made peace with my inability to carry a tune or even recognize the note. I know I am horrible sounding, I accept it. That doesn't mean that I am going to stop singing though. I just do it quieter, and generally, when I'm alone. Or trapped in the car with my kids. Because nothing is more punishing than listening to your mother belt out Respect while you silently cringe and hope none of your friends are in the car next to yours. Right?

Of course, there are millions of people who don't accept their vocal limitations. Thus, American Idol was born. The viewing public (i.e. me) loves to sit at home and toss popcorn at the telly whenever those bozos screech sing to the judges. And it thrills me when those dopes have a tantrum when they are told they aren't fit for human consumption. I want to ask them if they have working ears. Because really, how can you mistake that horrible squealing sound for music?

Last night, I was invited out. Tricked really. A friend called up and asked if I needed to get out of the house, have a drink, discuss grown up issues. What he failed to mention was the fact that we were going to a karaoke bar. Imagine, my horror (and secret delight) to realize I would be stuck in musical hell. And no one would laugh at me. I could finally be free with my vocal abilities, embrace my natural, God-given er, talent and let it all hang out.

Picture Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend's Wedding. That could be me.

Of course, it wasn't. I'm too uptight classy for that. Plus, the owner of the pub is my friend, and I wouldn't want to be singly responsible for driving away his paying customers. Which I was not. (I wouldn't want my access to free booze dry up.)

No, instead, I sat back and watched the crowd take turns at the foolishness. I quickly discovered there are three types of karaoke singers. The Good, the Bad, and the very, very Ugly. Every one loves watching the Good ones sing, as it inspires us, makes us sit up and take notice of that particular person and wish we sounded that good while belting out a tune. The Bad singers aren't so bad, they just sound awful. But they are having fun doing it, and hey, that's what counts, right?

But the Ugly ones, those are the ones to watch. These are the people who take this public singing phenomenon very seriously. They dress up for the part, totter about in their leopard print stilettos and their tight green skirt with hot pink belt, with their shoulders back and boobs out; while looking you in the eye and daring you to laugh at them.

Which, of course, I do. But only when they aren't looking, because I am a bit of a pansy that way. These are the ones who truly believe they sound good, and they are just waiting for their big break. These are the ones it hurts to watch. Unless you are intoxicated, in which case, it is just plain fun. Especially to heckle them.

Which I would never do. At least not drunkenly. If I'm to heckle, I'll do it sober.

I never did work up the courage to step up to the microphone. The voices of my past kept ringing in my ears. That, and the sound of a cat screeching. I decided my life was too short for that sort of public humiliation.

I would much rather humiliate myself in other ways. Like talking loudly about my vagina in a public place or walking around with toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

But you can bet your ass that last night inspired me. When I step into the shower today, I'm gonna belt out a tune. And maybe with enough practice, I can convince myself that the world is wrong. I don't stink.

At least, I won't when I get out of the shower.
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Reader Comments (21)

I would pay good money to see a clip of you doing karaoke.
(how the hell you spell that???)
But yeah ... good money.

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJ.

I only watch American Idol for the first few nights to see all the "very, very Ugly" ones. And yes, singing in the shower is convincing. The water hitting the tub kinda sounds like applause. Maybe not.

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAbove Average Joe

Jesus juice? That is almost as good as Dad Gone Mad's "man gravy."

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBen & Bennie

I thinks, without even gittin' too damn very much farther into this , I's thinks that your talent lie/lay in incredible emotional indifference in the morning.

whereby, a typical non-husband morning, mean:

Wake up
Put on Coffee
Put children in Kennel cage
Git Coffee
Put Jamison's in Coffee
Free children

Just a thought...now I shall read the rest of your post.

G'day my canadian neybor.

the king

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterShocka Khan

hey it's Ryan i never gave u my e-mail address last night , very intellegent blogs,funny and interesting too lol anyways e-mail me at alleniverson14@hotmail.com

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

fekkin awesome. why do those fools do it? oh wait, i believe i am one of those fools...

this is why i sing now - loud and proud - before my daughter realizes how badly i suck.

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkgirl

I used to frequent a karaoke bar where there was an "ugly" regular with consistent camel toe-the likes I haven't seen since-it flexed when she hit the hight notes.

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermoosh in indy.

So what you're saying is I should get you drunk and bring you to a karaoke bar? Fabulous. I'm game.

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Chicky

Y'know it's funny that you mention Cameron Diaz. That's usually how I picture you-big wod of cum slapped on the side of your head with your hair stickin' straight up singing show tunes. I bet you looked lovely.

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkimmyk

Marrying Michael Jackson??

That's just weird...

February 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercreative-type dad

I'm one of the Ugly Ones. My voice shatters glass yet get me in a kareoke bar and I am on stage ROCKIN' OUT. I'd love to hit one up with you...

And speaking of foreign languages, I watched this fascinating show last night about a guy who was a math savant, who learned Icelandic in a week. They say that language is the hardest in the world to learn and this guy went to Iceland and picked it up like *that*. It was amazing.

I just felt compelled to tell you that. LOL.

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermamatulip

Tying a knot in a maraschino cherry stem? Talk about dexterity! And you can't sing except to sound like a wounded cat?

The only time I ever sang karaoke was with some ladies I worked with. We were at a conference, getting drunk, and they forced me up there on stage! I was humiliated but it was really an experience to remember. Otherwise I wouldn't have anything to write about in answer to this post.

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMotherkitty

yes, but have you ever been booed off stage by your own family at your sister's wedding reception...
not that I was that bad...I mean I heard that it happened to a friend of mine.

Yeah, heard it was a completely new interpretation of 'Sweet Caroline' too!

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdennis

Classy, my ass! I know you really wanted to be on stage belting out "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls, didn't you? When I finally pop out this baby, I will be your DD and take you out so you can sing your little heart out. Just you wait...

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterroxylynn

Belching the ABC's is a pinnacle of perfection I will just have to strive to achieve. I like that I have found my fellow Annie Oakley.

As long as you don't have the Reba Jaw when you sing, I think you'll be okay. (think singing sideways)

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEmma Sometimes

T, I'm sure you sing like Pavarotti. Or maybe Julie Andrews. Perhaps Elmo from Sesame Street?
(he he he!)

I have no idea what you sound like, but if you enjoy it then sing away! Singing, like laughing, is great for the soul :)

And don't forget, whether you can sing or not, you can write the pants off the rest of us!!

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjellyhead

I would pay CASH MONEY to see you karaoke. CASH MONEY.

February 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHer Bad Mother

Ummm, dare I admit that I fell into the "bad" category a few weeks ago when I made my husband sing "You're the One That I Want" with me in front of the guests of our friend's mother's 60th Birthday Party?

What can I say? Give me a few cocktails and I'll do almost anything (even if I suck at it)!


February 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercarrie


I share your talent of deadly aim! My husband is a bird-hunter and desperately wanted me to go practice shooting clay pigeons with him several years ago...I shattered every one. He, on the other hand, did not.

For almost a year, he practiced every.single.day. And, I can STILL out-shoot his bird-killing ass!!

But, alas, Simon Cowell would bend me over his knee and give me a bare-assed spanking if I tried to sing in public! Oh, and I would deserve it! he-he

February 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBobita~

I had a thing for MJ, too. It's okay, we didn't know he was the way he his.

The worst is when your friends are like, "Nooooo...you did reeeally good!"
Which we did to my ex...who embarassed himself frequently (usually "Freebird"). I won't lie, I do too, my mom owns a professional system...when I lived at her house I would spend hours in the basement singing! It's fun whether you're good or not.

March 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterButrfly4404

Oh T!! I think you are probably a great singer. You're only thought you were torturing the cat because you didn't sound like Stompin Tom or David Allen Coe.

When Roxy pops out that baby (hopefully my sniffer is back to normal), we will go out to a bar where no one knows us and you can sing or torture the cat all you want. Then we can laugh at you...JK...LOL!

March 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdaisydee

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