We need both…the joy of the sense of sound; and the equally great joy of its absence.
– Madeleine L’Engle

Three reasons Aliens would send me back to earth are my singing, my singing and my singing. Yes, my singing is that bad. It is kind of like real estate agents using the phrase location, location, location to denote an important aspect of a property. My singing is the characteristic which would get me sent back to earth.

First of all, I am one of those people who can’t “carry a tune even if it is in a bucket”. I have been told numerous times to “Keep your day job”. I first became aware of my non-singing abilities when I was ready to graduate from high school. The ceremony was a big deal. There were the usual speeches but the whole class sang a number of songs. I remember we sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” among others. Rehearsals began in February. The choir director started by listening to each of us sing individually and then placing us in the soprano or alto section. When I sang, he told me I could pick any section I liked and “Go there and just mouth the words”.

Then came the time in church when I was excused from singing during Mass. The priest was standing in the back of church getting ready to march in for the service and was encouraging the congregation to sing loud and clear. I was in the back and on the end of a pew. He came over to me and told me that I was not expected to sing.

When I went to work in a dialysis unit, I would sing to the patients as I put the needles in. They didn’t seem to mind the pain of the 16-gauge needles but did seem to mind my singing. I was going on a two-week vacation and a patient, an old farmer and curmudgeon from Vermont, said out loud more than once “Two weeks without June’s singing–won’t it be nice!” The nurses fixed him. We taped me singing and when he came in on the Monday of my vacation, they played the tape. He was not happy and what he said is not printable.

One day, my father came to the hospital for a visit with his doctor and he stopped by my unit to see me. He was coming down the hallway and heard me singing. “What did you ever do with the money I gave you for singing lessons?” I told him “That’s the problem, Dad. You never gave me any money for singing lessons.”

My granddaughter does not like my singing. As a little girl in her high-chair, she would put her hands over her ears and say “No sing, Ma, no sing”. If you discuss her birthday, even now, and talk about a party, she requests no singing of “Happy Birthday”. She will be twenty-six next year.

Secondly, I know about three words to every song that was ever written. After I sing those three words, I sing my own made-up lyrics or sing fa-la-la-la. That makes me really good at singing “Deck the Halls” at Christmastime. All the people who know the real words to the other songs I sing just cringe. I do know all the words to “Happy Birthday” but as you already know, I have been asked not to sing it.

Thirdly, I like to sing all the time. The other two reasons already discussed add to the frustration of those listening to me. The only way to shut me up is to talk to me and expect an answer back.

My father used to say that “There is good and bad to everything.” So, the “bad” here is my singing and the “good” is I would not be kept by Aliens.

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