“With their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns …” – The Cranberries
Last Friday my office had a going-away party for Su. The party had a barbecue, karaoke and dancing. I can’t dance or sing (well), but I can do both very differently from the Thais, which makes me unique.
My dancing skills can be compared to Conan O’Brien’s with a touch of a bad imitation of Michael Jackson. But like a wedding in Northern Minnesota, by comparison, I danced quite well. Whenever I would do anything out of the ordinary – jump or spin – the Thais would shout with excitement.
Then they asked me to sing. I requested the song that always seems to be on the short English list: “Zombie” by the Cranberries. For some reason, Thais love this song. Something came on in English, but it wasn’t “Zombie”. The guy behind the controls told me to keep singing even though I’d never heard the song before. I decided to improvise …
Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light …
And I didn’t stop until “home of the brave”. I don’t think they knew what I was singing. I wish there could have been an American there to roll in my poorly sung patriotism.
Then “Zombie” started. When Thais sing their traditional songs, they do so very conservatively. I can’t sing, so when I do, I try to make a good show of it. I jumped, I knelt, I held the microphone at weird angles like Liam Gallagher and sang with the rock and roll passion I listen to everyday. The Thais enjoyed, but were also a bit stunned. It was much like the scene in Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox thrashes his guitar like it’s not 1955, leaving the high school audience watching in silent shock.
Returning to work Monday, I seemed to have made more friends. All the men wanted to know how to dance like I do. It’s not hard, just leave your shame at the door.