This post is part of a new weekly series that comes as a direct suggestion from one of my best friends ever! Aly and I have been friends since we were three (or four, depending on who you ask). She is one of the coolest people I know. Although she is busy with studying most of the time, when we manage to get together we always have the best time. In fact, one of the best, most perfect nights out to ever go down in history was when Aly and I teamed up to wreak havoc on Tampa. If I ever run short on blog content and concurrently feel the urge to shame myself on the Internet, I will describe that night here. In the meantime, here is Musical Monday. (And Aly, thanks for the suggestion and for supporting my writing endeavors!).
My public music career got off to a rough start. The trauma begins with my first memory of multiple people hearing my singing voice. I was at the home of my childhood best friend, who shall go unnamed to protect her from public vilification (but her first name might rhyme with Sally). Our families had gathered for dinner, which was a common occurrence. On this particular occasion, my childhood best friend, who shall go unnamed (but her last name possibly rhymes with ‘house’) had a new toy. With the exception of a pet monkey, it was pretty much the best thing that a little girl could imagine: a karaoke machine. “Do you want to try it?” asked my friend, ‘Sally House.’ Of course! I could hardly wait while she set up the machine for me. I don’t remember what song was played, but when ‘Sally House’ handed me the microphone, I cranked open my jaws and sang my little ass off. Nobody had told me yet that natural musical ability was not something that I was born with, and I had a blast through the last note.
Imagine my confusion when ‘Sally House,’ laughing demonically, removed a cassette tape from the karaoke machine (this was the early 90’s) and scurried to the living room. Before I knew what hit me, my voice was booming through the house. ‘Sally House’ had secretly recorded my singing and was playing it at full volume for our families on the sound system. None of the parents had the heart to console the embarrassed child. They just laughed. And I never wanted to sing in public again.
(For the record, ‘Sally House’ is still the most devious person that New Jersey has ever produced).
The next public trauma came in fourth grade, when I tried out for the school play. “Pirates of Penzance” might have been a great musical production, had it not been offered in a New Jersey elementary school. No matter. Thinking that the critical reaction at the ‘House’ house may have been a fluke, I gave my all to singing in that rehearsal. When the list of roles was finally posted, I could hardly breathe because I was so excited.
At first, I thought I missed seeing my name because I was too hyper to focus on reading. It soon became obvious that that was simply not the case. I had been forgotten. In fourth grade. School plays in fourth grade were produced not to showcase talent, but for the sake of including everyone. Literally every single child in my class was included in the play, with their names listed as either a starring player or a member of the chorus. My name was straight-up omitted.
When I asked our music teacher why I wasn’t allowed to be in the play, I was quickly offered a consolation prize in the form of a supporting role in the troupe of dancing policemen. It was better than being in the chorus, but not by much. That play probably sucked due to poor casting choices executed by the fourth-grade music teacher, but I don’t remember for sure. It’s all blacked out. That was the end of my musical career. I gave up my aspirations for good.
How did I rise from a traumatic childhood where I vowed to never play music again, to this moment, the opening of my “Musical Mondays” blog? Tune in next Monday.