I don’t sing. Well, actually, I don’t sing in public. Ever. (Okay, there is that occassional Christmas Eve when I get caught up in the moment, but that is where I draw the line.) Oh sure, part of it has to do with the fact that I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, but more so because I am the Queen of Misheard Lyrics. At least I was once upon a time and the moment has imprinted itself permanently on my psyche never to be repeated.
When I was young- I can’t tell you how young, but it was young enough to still fall for things my brother set me up to do for his amusement- I had a favorite song. It made me want to SING and DANCE for all to hear. I loved to perform. (Youngest child syndrome and all.)
So one night my parents had their best friends over to play bridge. This wasn’t an uncommon event. We (the children) knew to make ourselves relatively scarce. (Besides, we all knew the real fun didn’t start until the children were in bed. We knew this because the laughing got louder and the conversation more lively.) It was past bedtime, but I had snuck into my brother’s room to sing him my song. He immediately told me that I absolutely must perform it for our parents and their friends. My sister came in and encouraged me as well. They both thought it was a brilliant way to entertain the guests. I really should’ve known then something was up.
I agree and proudly march into the living room where the adults are gathered. I clear my throat and announce that I am now going to perform for them. As soon as I have their undividided attention, I begin to shake my hips and belt out my song…
“Play that f*ckin’ music wine boy
Play that f*ckin’ music wine
Play that f*ckin’ music wine boy
Play it and I’ll boogie so
play that f*ckin music or you’ll die!!!!”
I stared at the adults. They stared back at me in horror, shock and disbelief. I believe my father was deciding between a stroke and a heart attack and was thus rendered speechless. My mother just froze like a deer in the headlights. Their friends looked from me to my parents. My mother was the first to find her voice. She began (stammering a bit)….”Jennifer Lee…what did you just say?”
Thinking it was a request for an encore- much to my delight- I jumped up on the footstool and began to shake my hips and bellow out my song again.
My mom’s best friend was suddenly very interested in the ice at the bottom of her glass as she began to study it. For some reason, her shoulders were shaking. Her husband became very intent on getting his cigarette lit. It was difficult as his hand was shaking a lot. Still clueless, I look to my parents for the usual, “Good job, sweetie.”
It wasn’t until my mother burst out laughing that my father was pulled from his stroke-like paralysis. “Was it your brother or your sister who suggested that you entertain us with that song tonight?”
Pleased to have my brother and my sister share in the praise and spotlight, I sold them out in a heartbeat.
I was pretty much just told to never sing that song again.
Later, as I was crawling into bed- and shortly after my brother and sister got quite a talking to and grounded- I overheard my brother cracking up telling my sister, “It was totally worth it!”