Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You were amused by Rain Man. What's the difference?

Let me start this off by saying: You would have laughed too. I swear to God(s), you would have laughed. Or you would have wanted to, at least. It's the point at which you would have laughed, however, that determines whether you are a) pure evil, b) just mean, or c) simply able to recognize a humorous moment and enjoy it accordingly.

It was Saturday evening, moments before the first pitch. The sun was low in the sky, the grass was the kind of green that only springtime and a dedicated grounds-crew can achieve, and the small but immaculate minor-league stadium was abuzz with the commotion of a few thousand fans finding their seats and anticipating the game ahead.

On the concourse below, a group of people, twenty or so strong, all in matching t-shirts and with similarly confused, child-like expressions on their faces, were being herded toward a gate next to the first-base dugout and onto the green grass beyond. This is not unusual, as baseball games are a common destination for group outings such as birthday parties and church youth groups. These people were different, though, because they had the high honor of singing the Star-Spangled Banner before the start of the game.

But don't call them different. What you can call them, as the PA announcer informed us in his introduction, is the "Just as I Am Choir." If, like me, you laugh at this point and every time you think of the name of the choir hereafter, you are a) pure evil.

Despite my evilness, I do tend to see the best in people, and so I found myself hoping, nay believing, that, despite the presumed mental challenges each and every member of this choir was overcoming to be able to stand out there, they would surprise us all with a beautiful, pitch-perfect, savant-like rendition of our National Anthem. Hell, if Ray Babbitt can count toothpicks, surely someone out there can sing like a bird. Yes, their performance was beautiful and inspiring, but it was also, despite my fervent hoping, exactly how it should have sounded: Like a bunch of retards.

See, right now you are either laughing or you are clicking away from here as fast as you can, never to return to this callous, uncaring and hateful blog again. If you have just now begun to laugh, imagining the chorus of voices that would sound pretty much exactly the way it would if myself and all of my friends got together after a few drinks to sing a song together (i.e., like a bunch of retards; hey, I don't make up the hurtful language, I just perpetuate it), then you are b) just plain mean.

If you managed to both hold your hand over your heart and hold onto your grim-faced, tight-lipped determination not to smile or laugh throughout the Anthem up to this point, you are a far better person than I. You would have at least cracked a smile, though, and probably laughed out loud when the one guy, fixed on having his moment in the spotlight, could not help himself but to step forward from the choir to the array of microphones pointed at them for his unauthorized off-key chorus-drowning solo of the line "the bombs bursting in air" before a handler could push him back even with his unaffected peers. You, Saint, are c) simply able to recognize a humorous moment and enjoy it accordingly, because it's okay to laugh at, I mean with, the developmentally challenged when they do something that is actually funny, just as it is permissable to laugh at me when I try to put my camera-wielding free hand through the closed sunroof while driving in order to take a photo for this blog. Funny is funny.

If you laughed at any point prior to Pavarotti's scene-stealing vocal heroics, you will be joining me in hell. If you're reading this blog, we'll probably see you there regardless.

Let me just add: I'm laughing at the name "Just as I Am Choir" in large part because I think it's kind of an insulting name. Why couldn't they have given them more of a confidence-boosting moniker like "The Ass-Kicking, Flame-Throwing, Take-No-Prisoners Choir of Destruction." That would carry some heavy cachet.

Also, to that kid who stood on the concrete landing right in front of us between innings and could have been a member of the choir but did not have the same t-shirt on and was feeling the music like I have never felt music and did his best to spread that joy to the crowd: you were freakin' awesome and we thank you for your energy.


Jacob said...

I didn't laugh at the name of the choir, but I did precisely at the point you wrote, "but it was also, despite my fervent hoping, exactly how it should have sounded: Like a bunch of retards."

Honestly, I'm not sure I would have found the actual event funny, but your telling was freaking hilarious.

Aaron said...

Judging by how hard I am laughing at the moment, I'd say it's a fair bet that I will be joining you in hell. Which, fine; at least I won't have to put up with Mel Gibson there. Well told, sir; well told.

sid said...

Wow. I'm speechless. When you said they sounded like a bunch of retards ... Wow. Speechless.

em said...

Was this at a Smokies game? I wish I had something smarter to interject.

Noelle said...

That is indeed hilarious and highly, highly offensive. Do you want me to create a link to reddit and see what some real retards think of this post?

Allie said...

I really kept it together for the most part, but when you thanked the kid in front of you for feeling the music like that, I laughed so hard that my eyes teared up.

I do find the name of the choir to be absolutely awful. Come on! They are being counter productive with that one.

Stefanie said...

I'm laughing, but I'm not proud of myself for it.

JustinS said...

Well, it's official. I'm just plain mean.

Can I get some sort of badge or something I can wear so people know when they meet me? I mean, they generally figure it out the first time I try to shank a bitch, but it's probably better for everyone if we can avoid that initial confusion.

The Modern Gal said...

I'm apparently evil and therefore will be repenting to our lord, Mr. T, as soon as I'm done laughing.

Michelle & the City said...

i laughed, i'm so going to hell

Chris said...

Great post. Having been there to witness this event alongside the prettiest waitress himself, I confess I had to bite my lip a time or two to keep from laughing during the actual performance.

Actually, I'm not sure it's so much evil as just very politically incorrect. We've been trained that we aren't allowed to laugh at certain kinds of people, even when they do funny things, which is just not fair.

OK, fine. I'm evil.

Matt said...

Hilarity...I dont think its right to laugh at tards all the time- but I do think its right to laugh when they do something hilarious.

this blog is a fav of mine...something tells me you would like to.


Courtney said...

I managed to keep it together through the entire anthem, but believe me, I was laughing on the inside. Afterwards I leaned over to Mickey and whispered that I bet he wanted to laugh through the whole thing, and he replied, "Wanted to laugh?" Which means he was standing there with a big goofy grin on his face in front of God (excuse me, Mr. T) and everyone.

Mickey said...

jacob- Thanks. That may be the best sentence I've ever written.

aaron- I'm so glad this was not met with disapproving silence or a Noelle-style burn. I guess there's still time.

sid- Speechless? Laugh, damnit, laugh!

em- Actually,no. I'm sure you can be entertained in a similar way at a Smokies game, though.

noelle- Oh, please don't do that. I actually had an editorial dilemma on my hands regarding the use of the word "retard," in part knowing how much less got you in trouble.

allie- That kid was seriously cool. Someone told me he does the same thing at high school basketball games.

stefanie- You're only human. And also heartless, apparently.

justins- You don't need a badge. Something tells me that shank is getting the word out for you just fine.

modern gal- The Church of Clubber Lang is always open.

michelle- It'll be a killer party.

chris- You do have much better self-control than I in most departments. However, I hold the upper hand in not knocking ladies up. SNAP!

matt- That sounds like something I'll have to check out when I get home from work. You can't be too careful.

Mickey said...

courtney- 'Tis true.

Meaghan said...

I'm apparently evil on the inside and just able to recognize a humorous moment on the outside. I held it together until the kid just had to have his solo! But I wanted to laugh ALMOST the whole time.

"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come."

It's actually a song, but WAY too cheesy to be using as your choir name, I'm sorry!

Julie said...

So I guess I'm the only one in the audience that was making up a "Real Man of Genius" beer commercial featuring the dancing king? Bummer. I thought the idea had great potential.

Mickey said...

meaghan- It was the most entertaining rendition of the national anthem I've ever seen. They should be invited back.

julie- It does, Julie. That kid should totally get his own commercial.