While laying on my couch the other day I experienced one of those, “What should I be doing with my life” moments. OK, to be honest, I was sleeping on my couch in the middle of the afternoon when some random noise woke me up and caused me to go through the usual questions of self examination such as, “Who am I?”, “Did I oversleep some important television show?”, “Why is there an empty bag of parmesan flavored goldfish resting on my stomach?”, and, “Are strange objects really flying out of the television set at me, or was I just dreaming that part?”
After a few moments of getting my bearings and being reasonably sure I wasn’t being attacked by any of the electronic equipment in my living room, I started thinking about what I’m doing with my life. I got myself through college and I have been a computer geek for the past five years, but I never felt like my destiny was to sit in a cubical debugging computer code while the glow of the florescent lights slowly sucked away my life force.
I do not posses the background in behavioral science to explain this aspect of my psyche, but in my travels around the world I’ve discovered a strange admiration of lounge singers. I can’t imagine they make a lot of money or have hoards of young women following them from show to show, but from my point of view it is a noble profession.
I mentally traced this feeling back to a lounge singer I met when I was on a vacation in Hawaii. This guy’s job was to play music in the pool and bar area of the hotel from four until eight three times a week. The resort was on the west side of the island and the bar faced the beach. Any job that involves sitting near the beach in shorts and a T-shirt watching the sun set three times a week is OK in my book. Sure, he isn’t busy finding a cure for cancer and he probably isn’t contributing much to the Gross National Product, but I don’t think that really kept him awake at night.
I met another lounge singer role model when I spent six months living and working in Holland. Some of the people I worked with recommended this small hole-in-the-wall steak restaurant in the town of Haarlem. On the weekends they had a singer sitting behind the bar singing tunes in Dutch and English. I didn’t understand any of the songs in Dutch. For all I know he was singing the, “We drink Heineken and push annoying Americans into the icky canal water” song. That might explain why everyone would raise up their beers, look at me, and break into uncontrollable laughter as the more athletically inclined individuals threw me into the nearest canal.
I don’t want to come off as one of those “fancy lad know it all” types , but I know a lot of words to a lot of popular music. There are even some situations where I know ALL of the words to a given song. I also hypothesize that some of these might be the actual lyrics the original artist intended when they composed the song, although I haven’t done enough research to prove or disprove this theory. For example, I don’t think Jimmy Buffet ever used the phrase, “I’m heading down to the shore for another high colonic.” At least not in his songs.
Another skill I posses that I believe will help me become a successful lounge singer is my ability to sing. At the moment, I can only sing in the shower where nobody else can hear me. I pretend the shower head is a somewhat improperly placed microphone and the cartoon fish on my plastic shower curtain are people in the audience waiting to be entertained.
In order to be more relaxed when I’m performing I employ the classic technique of pretending that I’m naked. This doesn’t take too much imagination on my part since when I take a shower I have removed many of my clothes beforehand. Another issue is that most traditional microphones don’t have water shooting out of them. To get around this I tilt the shower head to one side and tilt my head the other way. A unique special effect I like to use involves singing as water is constantly shooting into my mouth. I believe that logistical considerations would keep me from incorporating this into any of my future lounge acts.
One potential problem I see on my way to becoming a lounge singer is the fact that I really don’t know how to play the piano. Even though I played trombone in high school, I don’t think this would directly benefit me as a lounge singer. One of the key elements in this line of work is the ability to play an instrument and sing at the same time. All my attempts to sing and play trombone simultaneously have failed. I have also learned that while waterproof, trombones do not seem to be designed to function in the shower.
While I’m not sure if I’ll ever become an actual lounge singer, I do like to entertain the thought when I’m stuck in traffic or trying to get my computer to submit to my will. It’s possible that my lack of talent may prove to be the biggest hurdle. And there is always “The Man” who is doing his best to keep me down. I may not be a lounge singer today, and depending on what is on television it might not happen tomorrow, but one of these days I’ll realize my dream-even if it means flying to Holland, beating the crap out of that lounge singer, and tossing his body into the nearest canal.