Monday, April 14, 2008

Karaoke's 'Patient Zero'

A few years ago, at a Washington Times Christmas party, I encouraged my friend Pete Parisi to try singing karaoke.

I created a monster. Being mobbed by karaoke groupies (see Exhibit A; click to enlarge the photo) appeared to transform Pete's entire personality. It was if the experience tripped some kind of Skinner-box reinforcement mechanism.

Pete has turned into a stone-cold karaoke junkie. He prowls the Internet, looking for new venues in which he can rock the mike. Before he goes on vacation, part of his planning includes locating every karaoke bar within a 20-mile radius of his destination.

Now, Pete's spreading the karaoke virus -- the contagion which causes the disorder that experts now call "Parisi's Syndrome" -- to his professional peers in the American Copy Editors Society:
The ACES conference in Denver has officially come to an end. . . . After the great wrap party at Falling Rock, many folks headed over to karaoke, which was said to be one of the greatest get-togethers that ACES has ever had. Peter Parisi led the group down to the sushi restaurant and started the 'afterhours' session with a booming voice and great stage presence. But Jim Thomsen, new to the ACES board, brought down the house with "Too Sexy."
I feel so ... guilty. I've started something that I am powerless to stop. The casualties of the karaoke pandemic are mounting, with no end in sight. I'm sure that Obama would demand Pete's immediate withdrawal from karaoke. But Pete's a Republican, so he'd probably listen to John McCain and keep singing for 100 years.

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