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You Don’t Know That Song As Well As You Think You Do

April 29, 2016

Anything I don’t understand must be easy.

– Dilbert’s Pointy Haired Boss

Karaoke must be easy. I’m not just saying that because I don’t know anything about karaoke. I do. . .sorta. Look, it’s singing, right? I know about singing. I’ve been in choirs since I was a kid. I’ve even performed some of my own songs. And it’s a performance, right? I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like. Some people fear public speaking more than death. I’m not one of those people. And you just sing along to the melody, right? I do that daily in my car to and from work. 

No problem. Just combine all of those and you’re singing karaoke, right? Sure, and riding a motorcycle is just like combining driving a car with riding a bicycle. 

My company has a “fun committee.” The fun committee is responsible for planning activities to improve company morale. One of those activities is a “karaoke night.” Actually, we hold it from 3:00pm -5:00pm, but “karaoke afternoon” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

I was asked to be the MC. Mostly that involves telling some jokes, and getting the audience to agree to come up and sing. Employees would wander through the cafeteria as they had time. Some would walk on past, some would sit and listen, some would actually get up and sing. But mostly they just sat and listened. 

After running through all the jokes I had, I thought, “Well, I can show them how it’s done.” It didn’t go the way I thought it would. 

Part of my job involves reports. It seems like we track everything. We track how long agents are on the phone. We track how long agents are off the phone. We track how long they are on the phone, but not talking to anyone. We track how long the system is available. We track how long it’s unavailable. We track who is who broke it. Lots of reports.

Rodney, I need to see lost agent minutes grouped by line-of-business instead of our current report showing it by site. 

It was a simple request. But, only if you don’t understand it. Have you ever organized your library by book title? Since you already have it organized, how easy is it to go back and reorganize it by author? Could you just do that before our meeting on Friday? 

I’ve been equally guilty of making that assumption. That just because something looks easy to me, it must be easy to do. My friend the cartoonist? It takes him mere moments to draw a character. And the character has emotion and movement and presence. And he has spent about 20,000 hours making it look that easy. 

Once while a support operator at WordPerfect a user called in with a problem on a corrupted file. As I started to walk her through the process of fixing it, she grew frustrated. “Can’t you just fix it can call me back?” It was simple for me, but very complex for her. And since the file existed on her computer, Ithere wasn’t much I could do. 

My karaoke experience was eye-opening. I picked a Prince song. Prince is a great musician. I realized that as much as I love the Purple Rain sound track, I didn’t actually know those songs well enough to sing, even with the words. I tried Willy Nexson and Toby Keith’s Beer For My Horses. I love that song. I’ve song along countless times as Willy and Toby croon about those bad boys who are gonna do . . .sumptn’ with the sumptn’ sumptn.

Oh, THAT’s what that says. It was amazing how much I didn’t know the lyrics for songs that I “know.” 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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