Karaoke and the choice of friendship

I swore I would never do it. Sure, I’d sung in front of people hundreds of times before, but doing a bad cover of an even worse song had no appeal to me. Karaoke was reseved for drunkards and fools. My people. It would take a Mel Gibson sized volume of booze to persuade me to make a fool of myself like that. At least, that’s what I thought until my 29th birthday party. It was billed as the party of the century….or at least of the day. My birthday is the day after a close friend’s birthday, so there have been a few years where we decided to share a party – this was one of those years. She and her husband agreed to host the party, the invites went out, and on the day of, the threat of a karaoke party was realized. See, this was her one request. A karaoke machine. Mine was bourbon. I kept eyeing the karaoke machine all night. It was like a high school bully that was waiting for me outside the locker room. Sooner or later, he was going to pummel me.

A few hours later, after most of the guests had left, the hour was upon me. There was no backing out of this one. The remaining guests, which were my closest friends, decided that the guys should all sing something together. You know, to break the ice. After a less that convincing rendition of “Single Ladies,” The guys put down their mics and I was asked to sing something. I guess the belief is that having performed in front of people makes you a pro at karaoke. Well friends, let me be the first to tell you that this just isn’t true. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it. Heck, I might have even sounded halfway decent. The problem was that I was SUPER embarrased. This was going to take some easing into. A good friend of mine, who smelled my fear, decided that we would do a duet. I think he was trying to do me a favor, but despite popular thought, singing a duet of “Endless Love,” with another dude is slightly more humiliating than singing a Cheap Trick song on your own. We nailed the duet thought, so all was well. But then we busted out some Taylor Swift. I immediately Bedazzled my microphone and, like I was singing to Taylor Lautner himself, sang, “you’re the best thing that’s ever been mine.” Actually, that last bit didn’t happen. Well….not that night.

We karaoke’d (can that be a verb?) for hours. Until 3am if I remember correctly. And somewhere between U2’s Where the Streets Have no Name and Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name, I realized that these people and I really love each other. We had to. No other group of individuals would make such fools of themselves and still retain any bit of dignity for the others the next day.

It made me wonder what makes friends stick together. Usually, you have a lot in common, or are in a similar place in life. But is there more to it than that? Why do you just “click” with some people and not others? Is it “God ordained,” for lack of a better term, or is it completely environmental? Maybe a bit of both? What solidifies you with your closest friends? There seems to be an intangible “magical bit” that’s unexplainable. Thoughts?

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