Not far from my house is a coffee shop. Once a month, I host a karaoke night there. In exchange the owners give me tokens for free coffee, plus beers during the evening itself. My "hosting" duties include kicking things off with peculiar renditions of popular songs, and making puns between numbers by other singers.
If you're a married man in his 40s with kids, hosting karaoke in your neighborhood is among the most fun things you can do on a Saturday night. That sentence wants to sound pathetic, but it just can't. It's funner than movies. It's funner than bars. It's funner than the opera. It might not be funner than going to see live music by a great band, but it's closer and, instead of costing a boatload of money for a sitter and transportation and tickets and a kid-sized plastic cup of warm ginger ale with a splash of Old Grandad in, it pays you beer and coffee.
And it's good to hold the mic.
Small entertainments pack as much emotional grandeur as the big things; on some Saturdays you just need enough to cement social ties, put a pleasant tune in your head, give you a chuckle, let you show off a little, picture your life a little bigger. It doesn't all have to be big. It doesn't have to be grand. Where I live there are landscapes and monumental sculpture and the river to deliver grandeur — and not too far away is the glow of the city, to which we've been known to repair for big kicks. But most Saturdays, I only need so much. And the backyard delivers.
Tonight a guy asked to sing this song a capella. Nailed it.