The karaoke machine made it's debut at my first Tampax Mafia party...and our selection of songs was limited, but I do remember squeaking out back up to Jennifers version of "If I had a milion dollars" from the safety of a knuckle dragging buzz and a corner in my living room. Jennifer earned the nickname Closet Karaoke Freak that night because she knows all the lyrics to every song, even the inaudible parts where you and I would usually mumble. This night sparked the tiny fire in me that is aching to sing, out loud, in the same manner that I car diva, or belt out a drunk diva sing along. But turn the volume down and when my voice stands alone it dies, or rather I pass out...literally. I have maybe been known to be a little bit of a show off. I can stand in front of a room of women and explain to them how to find their G-spot, wear a school girl outfit around a bar and ask every single person to buy shots from me, and spill my guts freely all over these pages, but when it comes to karaoke I am a straight up chicken shit.
The Summer after the first karaoke party, The Tampax Mafia hosted a huge weekend in Atlanta, a yaya invitational if you will, or intoxication revival. Ladies only, friends and sisters, the idea being you come and be who you are. Bring out your ugly laugh, act like an idiot, fall on your face, let all your shit hang out and indulge in misbehaving because we got nothin but love for ya. I started running my mouth months in advance about how I was soooo going to belt out "If I can't have you" by Alicia Keyes. My car diva version of this song was already spot on, it was a favorite during the Maxima days, driving around with the sunroof open and the Bose turned up as loud as it would reasonably go, driving too fast and loving every second of it. So Kelly secured the tune, and on the big night I stood in front of my dearest closest friends, clutching the microphone to my chest as if I was praying for my life, barely able to make a sound. I got out a few pathetic baby bird sounds before all the blood rushed out of my upper body and I had to hit the floor.
Ever since my memory has wrestled down my deep desire to sing with anxiety attacks at even the thought. When I was mapping out my roadtrip, Machine Gun and I were going to meet up in New York, just the two of us and sing "Jackson" by Johnny and June Carter Cash. We thought for sure that New York would love our Southern accents and song choice so much that they would erupt in glorious applause. Machine Gun and I had a magic that made me feel invincible. I was convinced that she sings "I'll be dancin' on a ponies head", to which he laughed hysterically and said "that's not what she says but baby if you wanna dance on a ponies head, god damn it I'll wrestle that thing down and hold it for you". There is no doubt in my mind that if we had done it together I would have belted it out like I was born to sing, just as I wrote amazing things and saw things as a writer when he was my muse and my friend. But we flaked out like we always do, just days before I was supposed to leave. We burn white hot and then burn out. Nothing that passionate can last long.
On the trip I confessed my karaoke madness to everyone, and Jenee and Laura both looked for spots to do it, but each mention of a specific time or place and my heart began palpitating and I would feel faint. Jenee even made me a karaoke practice cd for private use on the interstates as I was making my way up the East Coast. I considered Jeff Buckley "lover you should have come over" and Amy Whinehouse "Me and Mr Jones", both ambitious numbers...but I cant help it, I want to go big or go home. The cousins tried in Florida to arrange a karaoke night, but I froze and chickened out before we even left the house. I stayed home instead of going big, my karaoke dreams a failure, crushed by fear. Infact, aside from writing a book that never gets published, I can't think of anything I am more afraid of or paralyzed by....