Last night I went to see a Johnny Cash impersonator. There were several highlights. For instance:
The opening band sang country songs which made me feel like I was back home.
You could hear their New York accents behind their fake midwest twangs, which made me feel superior to them for some reason.
They ended the opening set with "Proud to Be an American"--which reminded me of a fateful November's eve in 2001.
We'd vanished two kegs and a billion boxes of wine. Instead of having a regular D.J., my sister opted for a Karaoke D.J. instead. She had just been married and the post-nuptial debauchery was in full swing.
An average man might think to himself, surely they won't sing ALL NIGHT LONG!? Perhaps it might be a good idea if some of my C.D.s were more than instrumentals. But our Karaoke D.J. was not average. For he needed no cd with audio words. His philosophy: "Any song worth hearin' is a song worth singin'." And that's what Ron did. He sang all the standard wedding songs himself (even the Chicken Dance and Cotton-eyed Joe). But what's to be expected? The guy was a professional. He was all business...until he turned around....
So it was late in the game. My Venezuelan friend just finished singing, "Tweeest and Shout" and everyone was pretty faded. For the last song, Mulletron had everyone gather around in a circle. "But We already did the chicken dance," is what I would have thought if I hadn't been so god-damn drunk.
This was 2 months after 9-11. My new brother-in-law's family was from upstate New York. It was an emotional way to end the night. Mulletron started singing, "Proud to be an American."
There wasn't a dry eye in the entire Parish Hall!
The following day people awkwardly passed each other in the hallway on their way to the bathroom or kitchen. Nobody could quite look each-other in the eye.
"Did we...umm...stand in a circle last night singing 'Proud to Be an American' while swaying back and forth with our arms over each other and crying...or was it a dream?" I said.
"Yeah...I don't want to talk about it." replied my cousin, Kaysie.
As I stood there listening to the fake cowboys sing that emotional tune, I looked around and saw that virtually anyone can succumb to the embarrassing nature of public emotional patriotism. I will list three examples:
1) The man sitting right next to my co-teacher kept screaming (at the top of his lungs, "GO USA!!! I LOVE USA!!! GO AMERICAAAAAAAA!!!!"
2) The man in the front, right section of the theatre standing with his arms up, swaying back and forth as if he were being Saved by Jesus...if Jesus were Patrick Henry.
3)Last but not least were the two volunteers who held up an American Flag and POW Flag high into the air and walked from left to right (repeatedly) in front of the crowd...not really that cheesy? They were trying to do it in slow motion. It was like a scene straight from Napolean Dynamite.