Local Woman: You Don’t Have to be a Good Singer to Enjoy Karaoke

karaoke girl, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/blueyeda73/496557459/Stockton, CA — Local woman Melanie Jones had been standing on the corner of Smith and Main in downtown Stockton for three days now, barely breaking to eat, sleep and relieve herself. “I feel very strongly about this,” proclaims Jones, as if we couldn’t tell by her refusal to abandon her post. Jones, a 5’4” administrative assistant at a local law office, is wearing tattered blue jeans and a dirty t-shirt. She is also adorned with a large sandwich board that reads “KARAOKE IS FOR EVERYONE” on the front and “HONK IF YOU LOVE SQUIRRELS” on the back.

Jones went out last Friday night with several other women to celebrate a friend’s job promotion. After a few hours of drinking, the ladies found themselves at one of the few bars in town that offers karaoke. “I never would have done it if I wasn’t wasted,” recalls Jones who was on her seventh whiskey sour at the time. As Jones tells it, she began to sing “Islands in the Stream,” performing both sides of the duet and once she got started, she did not want to stop. She went out to perform ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and the traditional folk ballad “Danny Boy.”

Several friends who witnessed the event, as well as the karaoke DJ, all described the evenings festivities as “like watching a train wreck happen in reverse.” Meredith Montag, the receptionist at Jones’ office, elaborated, saying, “at first it was ridiculous. A lot of laughing and forgetting the words and just totally embarassing herself. But then she got a little better. And a little better. And soon it was clear she was really into it and that made her good at it. I think she ended up doing like seven songs.”

Apparently the night left a lasting impact on Jones, who did not show up for work the following Monday or any day after that. “I just didn’t realize how awesome it is,” says Jones of karaoke. “And you really don’t have to be a good singer. I thought it was only for American Idol hopefuls and you know, those weirdo businessmen who totally could have been the next Sinatra but gave up on their dreams.” So now Jones has begun to dedicate her life to spreading the word about the Japanese singing sensation that most people discovered in the late eighties. She reports to have no plans to return to work, or bathe.

“All that matters now is that people know. They have to know. Kareoke is the best. I don’t know why anyone does anything else.” When pressed for more specifics on what exactly makes kareoke so great, Jones declined to answer, obviously pretending to not hear the question. As this reporter walked away, Jones could be heard to sing, “islands in the stream, that is what we are, no one in between, how can we be wrong, sail away with me, to another world…”

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