Karaoke Uber Alles Meditations on Life and Karaoke By Brian Parra
Grabbing the microphone starts the process, you hold it to your lips and wait a few seconds for the song the music to start, you feel it come over you: otherness. You aren’t just you in that moment, you are you plus Stevie Wonder. You might not intentionally snake your head side to side while staring at the ceiling, but inside you, your muscles are tensing to do it. Stevie Wonder’s words are coming out of your mouth. Your throat is tightening and loosening, your lungs are breathing in air, your diaphragm is pacing out your breath, your tongue curling, your jaw slung open all in the same way, in the same order Stevie’s would to sings those same words. You don’t even know the words to “Sir Duke” but your eyes scan them on the screen, staying half a second ahead and instructing your brain to accept this ghost, to let him inhabit you for 3:54. To speak these words to these people at the bar. No one thinks you are Stevie Wonder. But for a moment of time, you are the best analog to the blind man anyone has the pleasure of seeing until Mr. Talks-loudy-through-the-song kills “Superstition” 45 minutes later. Sure, it’s a more pedestrian song selection, but he KILLS it. Each brings to the alter what they can. They trade the wait and the cost of a few bees for the opportunity to be the skin that ghost inhabits for a few minutes at a time. We offer up our corporeal bodies to become the skin of wraiths every day. You hear your mother come out of your mouth, that nerd-baiting TV sitcom catchphrase, repeat the clever tweet to a friend who hasn’t seen it yet, read aloud from a history book the words, and each time your flesh forms the utterances of others, but also their facial expressions, and hand gestures, and that clever high five you saw in a movie one time, to repeat your older brother, to make the sign of prayer and bow back to your yoga instructor who just saw someone else do that too in her first class and thought it seemed like the right thing to do. Thus do you offer your body and flesh to bring the presence of another into the room as karaoke for everyday life.