Dear Aspiring Singers,
I applaud your passion. Never before have I heard such an inspiring drunk version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. And let me tell you, I am an expert on the subject. Past the bouncer and the bartenders, I live and breathe this karaoke bar. It’s woven into the fabric of my every night. Because I live across the street and cannot escape it.
So when I tell you I have never heard a version like yours, you can trust it’s true. Journey is a staple of every night at about 1:30 AM, when it is screamed into the microphone by someone who has obviously been taking advantage of the $2 beer special. If I’m lucky in the warmer weather, the back door of the bar is open and the song sounds as if it is being performed in my bedroom. What a treat.
The winter is a quieter time, when I am limited to snippets of songs by especially loud singers. It is only when smokers slip out the back door to smoke on the patio that I am blessed with full stereo. Again, though, it is only a fraction of the magic occurring on stage. Bon Jovi is enjoyed only every 30 seconds or so as the door opens: “Ooohhhh-OOOOHHHHH, LIVING ON A…” and the door closes. Another smoker comes out “…MAKE IT I SWEAR, Ooohhh-OOOHHHH, LIVING ON…” and the door closes. I lay awake nights wondering what they are living on.
Sometimes I am bothered by how much fun you are having. Your whooping and hollering only make my imagination run wild. “What could they be witnessing?” I ask myself night after night. I heard a rumor that one night someone who had his 15 minutes during the nationwide search of American Idol showed up. He came in with his entourage and sang “Love Shack.” Took down the house. All twenty-three people who were there that Tuesday night could barely believe their luck. The bartender turned down an autograph from this young buck, clearly in shock of the greatness. Celebrity in this humble karaoke establishment. It boggles the mind just thinking about who may show up next.
I’m glad this thought has not intimidated any of you from visiting this temple of song. In fact, you bring buses of coworkers with you, and bachelorette parties continue to make this a highlighted stop on the night of debauchery. Tourists, gangsters, frat boys, cougars—all of you united by music, drink specials, and free jumbo hot dogs after 9 PM.
Whatever your bartenders are serving you should be noted and continued in full vigor. It’s like a truth serum, encouraging you to come clean with each other. Those bartenders should be awarded peace prizes. As you dawdle on the sidewalk between Purple Hooter shots, the truth slips out of your lips like confessions at church, only much, much louder. He lied, she’s cheating, he really hates you. Ah, we all feel better now, don’t we? It’s a midnight miracle.
You are nice enough to include me in your curbside antics as they unfold in the quiet streets. I’m getting a bit concerned that the music is too loud in the bar, since you are always screaming to the person standing right next to you. It is heartwarming to know that they love you, too, man. And the fights—oh, the fights! It’s like an Oscar-winning movie being played out at 2 AM, and I have front-row seats.
You can be so generous with each other sometimes, it really warms the cockles. Long arguments over who saw the cab first, which I can only imagine must include a back-and-forth of “No, please, you first.” When your boyfriend is fighting with a complete stranger over you, you make sure to cry extra hard and yell his name over and over, just to make him feel like a winner. As your female friend lies on the ground from just having falling over, you are quick to point and laugh to ensure she knows she has achieved comedic status. And they say alcohol has no redeeming value.
Dear patrons, you have shown me a side of humanity that I cannot believe. You have shattered music theories and drinking records. You have proven that I really can survive on four hours of sleep a night. Without you, I would not feel this good about myself. May you never know when to fold them, always enjoy good times that never felt so good, and of course, don’t stop believin’.