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But wait, there's more.

There's just no polite way to say "Buy me things", is there?

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I'm baded and jitter. So are these people. (And why not follow the previous, next, or random links?)

Need a band name?

Doug vs. Japanese Snack Foods: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

rant is where the heart is

diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2001-12-24 (19:11:00)
In which our plucky young hero had a bustle in his hedgerow.

Just remembered this little story from my youth. It may offer valuable insight into the kind of person I was until I got better.

Of my high school I have previously spoken, but I want to make something clear. It was not a desolate, joyless place; it was, in fact, quite modern and resembled nothing so much as one of those prisons designed to rehabilitate injured souls more than offer a place to store the atoms that make up a recidivist criminal.

One thing it would never be called, though, was Fun City. Fun, oh, we'd heard of fun, but for those of us who were not part of the school band or into intramural badminton, fun was a scarce commodity. Fun was portioned out in nice small pieces at regular intervals. And sometimes, some of those pieces of fun turned out to be things that only looked fun. Tofu fun, one might say. Tofun.

Such was that night, which I'm pretty sure was while I was in tenth grade, when the karaoke machines came to town.

I have no idea exactly why the karaoke machines had come to town. Perhaps the karaoke providers of Atlantic Canada were constant wanderers, like itinerant acrobats who would set up shop in a town square, spin some plates, do some somersaults, and sleep in a barn. Perhaps some foolish investor from Sydney had bought himself a recklessly expensive karaoke machine and now needed to recover the costs any which way he could. I know not. All I know is that for one glorious night, Glace Bay High School became Tofun Central, Karaoke Style.

There were those, mind you, who did not appreciate me for who I was back in the day. It may stun you to learn that I had somewhat of a geekish reputation back in the day. And wherever young minds gather and have nothing to do, geekish reputations quickly become sources for humor, or at least that's what we all desperately pray. So it was that while others were performing the Hits Of The Day (or at least, stuff that had reasonably passed the test of time, like "I Think I'm Alone Now"), I was pestered several times by people who wanted me to go onstage and sing.

Those who have heard me sing will offer vigorous agreement when I tell you that singing is not my forte. In fact, the phrase "not my forte" rather seems too weak to match what happens when I try to sing. Surviving 400-foot cliff dives onto sharp pointy rocks is not my forte, but I can't goddamn sing.

Of course all of those who wanted me onstage knew this. They wanted a cheap laugh at my expense. They intended to get me to sing something foolish. One girl helpfully suggested "Jingle Bells", sure to remind everyone of all the holiday spirit this warm March night.

Finally I decided: I would oblige them.

Oh god, would I oblige them.

I strode boldly up to the man responsible for bringing the karaoke goodness to us all and I said these words, or something rather like these words, because they say the memory is the first thing to go in the old age:

"'Stairway to Heaven', please. Yes, I'm sure."

It was about ten minutes later that I was called to the stage. All eyes were upon me. All ears were upon me. It was my moment in the sun. And I did not disappoint.

Well, okay, I did disappoint, in three very specific ways:

  1. Because I hadn't listened to the song in a while, quite accidentally, I brought all the energy of a funeral dirge to Page and Plant's magnum opus.
  2. I wasn't particularly amusing, because this was not "Jingle Bells". In fact, there is a very specific axis with "Jingle Bells" at one end of it and "Stairway to Heaven" at the other, and though I don't know what that axis is called, you and I both know that it is very real and very important. And amusement figures heavily into what it measures.
  3. And finally, I was horrible. I wasn't even trying to be off key and bad, but I was! For the whole song. All eighteen hours and six minutes of it. (Sometime around that gibberish about the stairway on the whispering wind, yes, I had a moment of self-doubt. But only a moment.) It must have inflicted vast amounts of pain on the audience. Which was rather the point.

Did I make a fool of myself? In retrospect, oh my yes, quite a fool. A prize fool. But I had proven my point: if you want me to make a fool of myself, then I will do it on my own terms, not yours. And I will make you suffer for your insolence.

As I've often said, I wasn't a very nice guy back in the day. At least now, I no longer sing about it.

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