Monday, October 9, 2017

Ch 12 Then we have the stupid idea to take an already cranky Sly to hear Primo sing at the American Legion karaoke and it ends in disaster

Sly and Doris have never heard Primo sing before. Don’t they want to hear him sing?

·         Sly and Doris are singers and
·         Sly and Doris are his parents and
·         Most parents like to see their children exercise their talents. Most parents are proud and excited when their children can do something well. Most parents like to see their children achieve. Most parents.

It’s early in the evening and the middle of the week, so the bar, in the basement of the Legion building, isn’t be too crowded, too noisy, or too smoky. Sly won’t have more than a few things to complain about.

Primo buys beer for everyone but me. I take another half a Vicodin.

Doris: I like this song! And that singer is good!

Sly: It’s too loud in here! Too loud!

Doris shakes her head and exhales.

We move to a table further from the speakers. What Sly wants, Sly gets.

Sly: That woman cannot sing.

It is true. The singer is not very good. She is not professional caliber. Most singers one finds in a karaoke bar are not professional caliber. Most singers in a karaoke bar would not meet Sly’s exacting standards. People here sing for fun. Sly is a semi-professional singer of classical music. She is a middle-aged bar patron singing a Cher song on a karaoke sound system in a basement bar. She is not a trained musician with Sly’s talent. Can’t he cut her some slack?

No. I guess not.

Doris, who got the scholarship to the music conservatory and who, according to Primo, is a better singer than Sly, can cut the singer some slack. She doesn’t look at Sly as she speaks.

Doris: I think she sounds just fine. And I like this song.

Sly glares at her.

Primo: I put my name on the list. It will only be a minute. There’s almost nobody ahead of me.

Sly goes to the bathroom.

Primo is called to sing. Doris smiles and claps when his name was called. “Go Primo!” she says.

He smiles at his mom, takes the microphone, and sings.

On one of our first dates, he took me to a bar to hear him sing. I thought karaoke was totally dumb and I could not imagine how an engineer could possibly sing well, which is on me, because aren’t I, the studier of literature, supposed to have some degree of imagination?

The first seven singers before Primo at this bar were awful. He and I were still in the blissful first months of dating stage – the stage where we didn’t fart[1] in front of each other. How would I would lie convincingly after he had sung to tell him how wonderful he was? 

Then he started to sing.

And guess what?

He can sing.

Total strangers were coming to our table to tell me, “Wow. Your husband can sing!”

Of course he was not my husband, but I took the compliment that was intended.[2]

Doris smiles. As Primo continues to sing, she smiles even wider. She beams.

Sly returns. It had taken him a long time to pee,[3] but Primo is still singing.

“Why why why Delilah?” he sings.

Sly: It's too loud in here! I can't stand it! I can't stand it! I'm leaving!

Doris: Honey, Primo is singing!

Sly: It’s too loud!

Doris: Honey! Listen! It’s Primo! Look! Listen to him! He can sing!

Sly: Too loud!

Me: Dammit, Sly! You will listen to your son sing! Shut up! Shut up and listen! What is wrong with you?

Sly: I can't see him! I'm leaving!

I slam my fist against the table.

Me: He's right in front of you!

Sly stomps out.

Doris puts her face in her hands. When she takes them away, her cheeks are wet.

Primo’ face falls.

Primo finishes the song – the show must go on – and then we walk outside to find Sly. Sly complains that it was too loud. He says nothing about Primo’ singing. Doris says nothing, period.

We return to the house.

Sly is dead to me. Dead. I spit on him. Pah pah pah.

[1] That sure changed.
[2] That’s because I am a Big Picture person. Primo, on the other hand, is a Super Detail person, aka An Engineer, so he would have corrected the compliment giver, telling her that he was my boyfriend, not my husband.
[3] I have since learned this is A Thing with older men.


  1. Sly can't (couldn't) stand someone else being the center of attention. Even temporarily. Even his very own son.