Down here at the karaoke bar on this warm summer night, with a moon slim as a dancer watching all the action, things are gettin’ pretty lively. Four young women have just told the Master of Ceremonies that one of them has turned 21 that very day. “Born in the mid-90s, and drinkin’ here tonight, people!” he calls from the stage to the rest of us
“I have socks older than they are,” a mustachioed mutters, but the emcee does not hear him. Like a preacher with a killer sermon, he is busy building momentum.
The first young guy up sings something so wildly off-key that only the two great-grandmothers at the corner table manage to smile their encouragement. Everyone else talks right over him, some of them wincing as they talk.
Next, two ladies join forces for “We Are Fam-i-lee” (as in “I’ve Got All My Sisters With Me”) and the crowd stamps and whistles.
Now the emcee shouts, “At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the best attorney on earth and on the moon, FRANK!” and Frank takes the stage to deliver a tender ballad called “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”
“OH yeah!” cries a young woman with a drink in her hand.
Then, as if to illustrate its theme, she rises, her cocktail still in her hand, and begins executing that female dance move where a lady rotates her hips while languidly waving one hand in the air like a sleepwalker hailing a taxi.
In response, a young man moves toward this young lady, perhaps because her clothes have in fact begun falling off, in a kind Venus-on-the-Half-Shell way. He smiles to show harmless intent, then yells at the top of his lungs into her ear, which is what people have to do in order to be heard in settings like this.
She leans very far forward, whether in real or feigned deafness, prompting the three other guys who had come in with this brave swain to snap their eyes over to the slow loping rhythms of the ballgame on the wide-screen. No guy wants to be seen eyeing the cleavage of a girl another guy has begun the Great Dance with.
Now a man and a woman on the high side of 60 are also smiling and attempting to chat until, with a sour face, the woman’s girl-pal moves between them and says, “We are out of here. NOW.”
So this 60-something woman bids the gent goodbye, though not before hurling a nasty remark at the back of her departing friend.
The gent just smiles philosophically as if thinking “Hey. Women: They come. They go. What are you gonna do?”
Next, a young guy steps to the stage and does a hip-hop song about love and body parts. Now, a stocky girl takes the mike for a growly version of Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots.” After that, a smallish young man tackles Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” the one song I have just recently been told is guaranteed to bring any wedding dance-floor to soaring life.
Finally, a man in his 70s comes forward and croons a pitch-perfect version of Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” – at which point even that elegant slim dancer of a moon seems to bow in homage, just ever so slightly, in the moist summer sky.