Once I was fourteen and I was in the college choir. I shouldn't really have been there, but my mom worked it out somehow -- sometimes moms do things like that.
The second semester a new kid started showing up. I noticed him because he wore camouflage and a Smith & Wesson ball cap and had a key chain so long it nearly dragged on the floor, but besides that it was kinda hard not to notice him. He was kinda loud. Also in a community college choir, everyone new who shows up is a novelty. Some of those people have been there since the 80's. (For example Mr. janitor-in-the-back-row.) Basically all-around everybody is a novelty.
Judging by the way he was dressed and his general swagger, I figured this kid for a country boy. They're hard to miss.
So I may have kept my eye on him. When Mr. B picked out soloists, I was one of them. He gave Mr. Smith & Wesson the solo in 'Seasons of Love' from Rent. Again, I think this was just because he was loud and drew attention, because the kid wasn't that extraordinary of a singer. I thought he had potential, but he sang without any energy, kinda flat. Like he could be really good if he tried, but he wasn't trying because, being as he was a college boy, he didn't care. Apparently he couldn't read music because he didn't sing the solo right either. It bothered me every time but Mr. B never corrected him, and I certainly wasn't going to go back to the bass section and point it out. I was fourteen.
The night of the spring concert came. Backstage just before we went on I heard Mr. Smith & Wesson and some of his friends talking.
"Do you know you're not singing it right?" one of the friends said. She demonstrated how it was supposed to be sung.
His response indicated he could care less.
The head of the music department finished his fluffy little speech, and the choir walked onstage. I climbed to the top riser. When my solo came I stepped down to the microphone and tried to look out over the audience without actually meeting the eyes of anyone I knew. When I was done I went back. Mr. Smith & Wesson's part came and he went forward to the microphone just like the others had. I watched closely.
He sang -- and it was nothing like he'd practiced it. For the first time ever he sang the part like it was written, only he fancied the whole thing up, and exaggerated the runs, and held the microphone like he was Elvis Presley, and everyone in the choir just kind of stared bug-eyed and wondered what the heck he was doing.
He finished, and turned around to walk back and there was a smug grin spread over his face.
It was pretty much the funniest thing ever.