The Story of 12 Women Who Went on a Cruise, Part 5: Cruise Karaoke
One of the many pleasant surprises for me on our cruise was how much we enjoyed Karaoke.
We would wander around the ship after our late dinner, popping into the different bars. Eventually we would make it to the Karaoke lounge and stay for a few songs. We sang along and laughed, sometimes with and sometimes at the different singers.
Of course, we quickly determined what I can only hope will one day become common knowledge, which is that all Karaoke would be greatly improved by playing only 90 seconds of any given song. Unless the person singing is really hysterical, he or she is really only fun to watch for about a minute.
However, we happened to have among our cruisazy crew, a Karaoke star.
It’s difficult to even explain the special combination of skills that Mercedes possesses that enables her to be so great at Karaoke, because they are sort of intangible:
a really good memory
a confidence that translates to not caring what other people think
a great love of a party and all things fun
some funky dance moves
Our first night on board, Mercedes put her name on the list to sing Baby Got Back. I have heard her sing all the words to this song before, marveling at the way she does not miss a single syllable. In retrospect, I think what is amazing is that basically, Mercedes has taken a 7th grade party trick and wielded it into something that can be pulled out periodically over an entire lifetime to mesmerize a crowd.
Do you remember how in your adolescent days you could listen to the same song 1000 times over and you gave entire days to memorizing every single word? Until your parents would rue the day they took you to the store to buy that tape or cd?
All those lyrics are long gone for me. I will hear and remember a song, but sing every word? No way. Or maybe I just memorized the wrong songs. My daddy’s musical taste won the day at our house and Bob Dylan just doesn’t translate the same way in Karaoke.
Needless to say, Mercedes brought the house down with Baby Got Back. We all stood up on the front row dancing and cheering her on. And laughing hysterically.
Pretty soon strangers were coming up to her during the day and asking,
Are you Mercedes?
Are you going to sing again?
Where? What time?
Seriously, she created a scene. The Karaoke guy would see her coming and move her name to the top of the list.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Whoop! There it is! up next. Sung by, Merrrrrcedes!!!
I don’t even need to tell you the amount of fun that this was for the rest of us. Every time someone recognized her we would all be in hysterics.
We also all felt that it would never be the same to go on a cruise without Mercedes.
This past winter I went on a little short escape cruise with my mom and sister and we would pop in on some Karaoke here and there. For the most part it was just mildly entertaining, but one night we were in a lounge where several adults with Down’s Syndrome were taking turns singing.
Now we had watched this group for a couple of days around the boat. They had other adults with them that were helping them enjoy their time on the cruise with a little gentle supervision. We loved watching them because they were so delighted with everything and the adults with them were so patient and kind. They kept up with their towels, shoes, hats and sunscreen. There seemed to be about four or five adults with Down’s Syndrome assigned to one helper adult. One guy in particular grabbed our attention right from the beginning of the cruise because he was so gentle with his group of men. We called him Cowboy Hat.
Look, there’s Cowboy Hat picking up everyone’s shoes again.
I think Cowboy Hat forgot to put on sunscreen yesterday.
He was fairly soft spoken and would take forever just to coax someone into the swimming pool so they wouldn’t miss out on the fun. It just felt like he was super committed to each person in his group having a wonderful time and he never seemed to get frustrated.
So when we were listening to all the different adults sing Karaoke, one of Cowboy Hat’s guys got up to sing. I can’t remember the song, but it was pretty apparent early on that that he didn’t know all the words and he was struggling to get through the song. After a few long, awkward pauses, Cowboy Hat went up on stage and leaned in to share the microphone with him. He was clearly a little timid about it and he definitely could not sing, but both of those things just made it all the more precious that he was willing to stand alongside the other guy and make it more fun for him. We all were tearing up for the sweetness of this moment.
So, it wasn’t Mercedes singing Baby Got Back, but still. Such a beautiful Karaoke memory!