Archived Story

Karaoke in emergency room is a bad idea

Published 8:00am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To many people karaoke is a fun form of entertainment that allows them to perform their favorite songs — usually poorly — before groups of strangers in the quest of a good time.

For me, however, listening to karaoke is a form of torture not quite as bad as water boarding, but worse than forced nudity. In other words, I am not a fan.

Who sang “Free Bird”? Lynard Skynyrd — and lets keep it that way, thank you.

The good thing about karaoke is that you usually have a good idea of when and where it takes place, giving people an opportunity to avoid the annoyance if they so choose.

But what happens when you go somewhere and you can’t escape the dreaded off-key singing?

Such was the case last week when I had to take my wife, Erin, to the emergency room at ECM Hospital in Florence late one night.

Fortunately, there was not a karaoke machine set up in the waiting room, but the televisions were tuned to a channel showing episodes of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this program, it is a game show in which contestants perform karaoke to random songs and midway through the performance the lyrics are no longer shown. The contestants then try to keep singing and guess the correct lyrics for the next line of the song.

So now I am sitting in a crowded emergency room, another of my least favorite activities, listening to televised karaoke. What a great evening.

Fortunately the volume was low and since I was sitting about 15 feet from the television I didn’t hear much of the first episode. By the time the second episode came on one of the other people in the waiting room decided he wanted to hear the show so he turned up the volume.

This episode was couples night, so I got to listen to two people sing off key and both of them not only didn’t know the right words, but also had different versions of the wrong lyrics.

The first song performed was a disco song with the word fever in the title — I don’t remember which one, because there are several dozen disco songs with the word fever in the title.

The second song was “Head to Toe” by Lisa Lisa, an annoying song from the 1980s that almost makes today’s bubblegum pop seem tolerable.

The final song was “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks featuring Tom Petty. I can’t stand Stevie Nicks.

Apparently the producers of the show took pity on the couple since they did not get the lyrics right on the first two songs, and dropped the lyrics during the chorus so the missing words were the title of the song.

By that time we had been waiting for two hours and I remember thinking I would rather be in a detention center at Guantonamo Bay than listen to another round of the show.

I can’t imagine how Erin, who also hates karaoke and waiting at the emergency room, felt since she was also dealing with severe abdominal pain.

The nurse called us back during the commercial break to the relief of both Erin and myself.

The misadventure ended just in time. For a few moments, I thought I was going to need to be admitted to the psychiatric ward so I could take advantage of some heavily padded walls.

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