October 4th, 2018

“They make you sing karaoke?”

She replied, “Well, everybody does it, so I guess ‘yeah’ is the answer.”

The young lady was calling me from a halfway house. She had just been released from jail to live in this place with several other women. My wife and I had visited the halfway house. It was a dumpy duplex, in an iffy neighborhood. As our young woman pointed out, the home was rather exclusive, seeing as almost everyone in the house had been sent there by the Wisconsin Department of Correction.

Everybody in the house is in recovery. They are all trying to deal with a specific chemical addiction. During the week, they go to classes, and they have access to medical treatment. They don’t get out much. It seems like the residents of the house are all down to relying on caffeine and/or nicotine to deal with reality. Last week the folks there ran out of coffee. Karin and I brought them a can of Folgers, and these people thought we were like gods. We also brought our girl some dark chocolate. That, she did not share.

Apparently, weekends are relatively unstructured, and the women have to amuse themselves somehow.  Hence, the mandatory karaoke on Sunday evenings.

I asked her, “So, what are you going to sing? Any ideas?”

She verbally shrugged, “I don’t know.”

“You could do song from Nine Inch Nails.”

She wryly asked, “So you want me to hurt their ears and make them totally depressed?”

“Well, yeah. Or, you could do a Nirvana song.”

“Probably not.”

“Well, how about I’m Only Happy When it Rains from Garbage?”

She said dryly, “They only seem to have country CD’s here.”


The girl called us again on Tuesday evening.

I asked her, “So, how did it go with the karaoke?”


“What did you sing?”

Wrecking Ball from Miley Cyrus.”

“Is that kind of redneck?”

She replied, “Miley Cyrus is not country.”

“Oh. But you said they only had country CD’s.”

“They went to the library and got a bunch of other music.”

“So, how do you do?”

I heard her smile over the phone.

“I got first place.”












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