The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, April 04, 2016, Page Page 6, Image 6

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April 4, 2016
Volume 26 Number 7
April 4, 2016
ISSN: 1094-9453
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n Wayne Chan
Paul Trudeau
never had it so good
y son is either a genius or a diabolical
fraud — I can’t decide which.
I recently took my family on a cruise to
Mexico. Four days and 14 pounds later, we’re back
at home.
It was during this cruise that my teenage son,
Tyler, decided to take the stage in the karaoke bar.
It was a packed house and by the sound of it, the
amateur singers on stage seemed to hold their own,
even though they didn’t get much of a rise out of the
audience. Tough crowd, I thought.
As a protective parent, I was a little nervous for
Tyler. He had never sung in front of a live audience.
At the most, we might hear him sing a couple lines of
a song as we drove somewhere in the car. He’d never
been part of a glee club at school or a choir at church.
I wasn’t even 100-percent sure he could sing on key.
I just didn’t want him to be embarrassed if it did not
go well.
Having earned my chops singing in countless
karaoke bars throughout China, I know that
singing on stage and singing in the shower are two
different animals. Which song would he sing? What
if he started singing and didn’t really know it? What
if he flubbed a line? What if someone started to
laugh? How would my son react? Why couldn’t we
just go to the midnight dessert buffet instead?
In the middle of my anxiety attack, the karaoke
DJ spoke up. He said, “OK everyone! Our next
singer, Tyler, has been waiting patiently, and he
wants to show you what he’s got! Put your hands
together for Tyler!”
Sitting nervously in the back, I hoped for the best
as Tyler spoke. He said, “I’d like to sing ‘Sweet
“Sweet Caroline?” I thought. The Neil Diamond
song??? And then I realized what he was doing.
Before I describe what happened, it’s important
to put this in context.
My wife Maya hates Neil Diamond. Absolutely
hates him. She thinks he sounds like an old cow. I,
on the other hand, like Neil Diamond, and I’m not
ashamed to say it. In fact, I think Maya is dead
wrong — he absolutely doesn’t sound like an old …
OK, maybe his voice does have a bit of a “bovine”
quality to it, but I still like him.
About 20 years ago, after being married for a few
years, knowing that my beautiful wife had a real
distaste for all things Diamond, I decided to have a
little fun. I created a mix tape (yes, I know how old
that makes me sound) with a bunch of Neil
Diamond’s earliest work along with a picture on the
cassette box with a really young picture of Neil.
Then, to make the tape look like something I might
have purchased from a record store (yes, those
existed at one time), I titled the cassette “The
Greatest Hits of Paul Trudeau.”
I thought if I could find some of Neil’s songs that
she hadn’t heard before and let her think they were
sung by a young handsome guy named Paul
Trudeau, that I could get her to like Neil’s music. Of
course, I also thought it would be funny if she did.
In fact, it was so funny that I happened to men-
tion it to a couple friends in passing; they thought it
was hilarious. It was so funny to them, that they
took it one step further and called Maya to let her
know that they had just bought tickets to a Paul
Trudeau concert and wanted to know if we wanted
to go.
Soon after, friends were sending us Paul Trudeau
posters and memorabilia, then they asked Maya if
she wanted to join the Paul Trudeau fan club.
As to whether all this hoopla was having the
desired effect, I asked Maya what she thought of the
mix tape. Her response: “I like it, but he does sound
a little like Neil Diamond.”
Fortunately, my friends didn’t hire a guy to play
Paul Trudeau at a fake concert, so we finally let her
in on the ruse. I won’t tell you what she did to me,
but I will say that I have no memory of my life in the
latter half of 1996.
Needless to say, Maya’s hatred of Neil Diamond
has only grown exponentially after my little joke.
The problem is, when I shared this story with
Tyler, he thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever
So when I heard Tyler say, “I’d like to sing ‘Sweet
Caroline,’” I knew he was just doing it as a goof. But
it’s what he said next that completely threw me for a
He said, “I’d like to dedicate this to my mom.”
What he was trying to say was, “You remember how
dad pulled that fast one on you with Paul Trudeau?”
But instead, after his dedication to Maya,
everyone in the crowd let out a collective “Awwww!”
When he sang the first verse, people started to
gather on the dance floor. Then he sang “Hands,
touching hands” and the crowd started swaying in
unison. Tyler got to the chorus, singing — “Sweet
Caroline!” — and the crowd shouted back “BA BA
Baaa!” After “Good times never seemed so good!” the
crowd erupted with “So good! So good! So good!”
And who was at the front of the dance floor
swaying along with her hands in the air? A beaming
Maya, smiling back at her son.
Continued on page 8
Opinions expressed in this newspaper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of this publication.