Food for Thought

My uncle Mike came to visit last week. We went to dinner and afterward (at his insistence), we ended up at a little place to sing karaoke. Uncle Mike is a big man in his 60s, who looks a bit like Santa Claus—with a round belly, blue eyes and a white beard, so his low, deep voice suits him. And honestly, hearing him sing, you might be able to compare his voice to that of Johnny Cash. He’s even won a singing contest or two.

There weren’t many people signing up to sing, so Uncle Mike got to sing a lot, and it was as if he were in heaven. After every song, he got a loud applause and hoots and hollars from the 15 or so people who were there.

After Uncle Mike, a man sang who was not quite as well received by the small crowd. He was also in his 60s, but small in stature, wearing all black, with long thick hair and a significant underbite. He awkwardly sang a Beatles tune (which was barely recognizable), with such passion and sincerity that it was hard to look away.

“What a weirdo,” Uncle Mike said, after the song ended. I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe he was judging a fellow karaoke guy—a guy with a shared passion and a fearlessness to sing in front of people, most likely with the knowledge he wasn’t particularly good at performing.

“Uncle Mike,” I said, “That’s not cool. He’s just a guy with a passion for singing, just like you. Perhaps you should be silently grateful for your talent and consider respecting his courage.” There was a long silence. A few minutes later, Uncle Mike turned to me and said, “Thank you. I needed to hear that perspective.” – FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Lisa Petty, Editor

Equal Opportunity Employment Journal