GateHouse – If I ran the country – which, despite what’s now a yearslong Internet petition, I do not, mostly because of a bunch of arcane laws about qualifications and talent and not having been born in Burkina Faso – police would be called pretty much every time karaoke happened, just as a general preserving-the-peace kind of thing. On my first day in office, after installing Natalie Portman as Secretary of Hugging Me and, of course, getting rid of Idaho, I would establish a full-time Karaoke Defense Patrol, which I would talk about in perfectly normal terms, but which would really just be a thinly veiled revolutionary junta with a tendency toward overuse of force and quick bursts of rage, like all those steroided-up baseball players.

I’d be all like nice about the Patrol in public, but in truth, they’d be pretty violent. The Patrol would be armed with sticks and microphone cord cutters, they wouldn’t answer to any official federal authority and they would be alerted automatically every time someone submitted a Celine Dion song (such communication would, of course, be subject to government monitoring, much like all your e-mail).
And it goes without saying that they’d be approved and expected to use the Taser at their own discretion, although I think there would be a mandatory Tasering requirement every time someone did “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” because that song is 37 minutes long and I don’t care how many PBRs you’ve knocked back, there is no bar in the world where anyone wants to hear you sing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” (This notion, I think, also goes for Meat Loaf. I’m looking for a sentence here that closes with the phrase “Tasered the Loaf,” but I think this one’s good enough.) Frankly, I’d think very hard about siccing them on “American Idol,” too, although that’s something I’d, of course, have to discuss at great length with Secretary Portman. Over wine.
But that’s just me. Here in the country I don’t run (although if Ron Paul has a shot, seriously, how much far behind can I really be?), police only show up during certain isolated instances of karaoke, such as when a school custodian in Roxbury, Conn., recently held his own private night at the Roxbury and spent a little time belting out “Welcome to the Jungle” on the school’s PA system after hours.
This in itself is, of course, not a crime (although the Karaoke Patrol will have some very stringent anti-Guns N’ Roses orders, assuming I can muster up enough power to override a veto by those hippie Democrats). The problem is that while the teen custodian (and a couple of his shady friends) were using their illusion on the school mike, a teacher who was still in the building thought she was being threatened over the loudspaker, and barricaded herself into a classroom, where she hid, cowering, terrified and, one imagines, knocking her sha na na na na na na na knees knees.
“Jungle,” you’ll remember, is chock full of dangerous-sounding lyrics; they’re just less dangerous when sung by Axl Rose, who hasn’t been spotted in daylight since releasing those six-hour long MTV videos with all the dolphins in them. Such lyrics include, “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby! You’re gonna dieeeeieieieie,” although most humans can’t hit that last note, and probably, to be fair, sound pretty horrifying in a darkened school late at night. Incidentally, who hangs out in a darkened school late at night and doesn’t expect a minor horror film to break out? That’s like Cheap Slasher Movies 101.
The teacher’s terrified reaction is, I think, fully understandable; hearing anyone else sing Guns N’ Roses songs these days would make me want to barricade myself into something as well. But when the police showed up – and by “police” I mean “six troopers and three police dogs,” the whole mess got straightened out when officers realized they just didn’t know anyone was in the school at the time. The offenders were released. Good for them. The Karaoke Patrol will not be so merciful.

About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel


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