Troy and I are geeks. We're not ashamed of it. We love goofy, kitschy, and often crappy things. That's why we've visited the Twine Ball in Darwin, MN, at least three times. It's why our 4th of July tradition includes going to the parade in Cambria, MN, where the parade goes around the small town not once but twice. It's why we love Big Elvis, Denny's, and COPS. So when we heard that William Hung of American Idol "fame" (notoriety, maybe?) was coming to town to appear at a MoonDogs game, there was no question that we needed to go. I looked forward to it as though it were a holiday.
On July 23, the day finally came. The weather was perfect--sunny, a cool breeze, not too hot at all. After work, I gathered up my supplies--camera with zoom lens (surely MoonDogs security would keep WH at a safe distance from his throng of adoring fans), video camera (I hoped Troy might be able to record the performance for posterity), and of course my highly coveted William Hung CD for him to sign.
On our way to Franklin Rogers park, we tried to explain to Kyle what we were doing. How do you explain WH to a 3-year-old? We told Kyle we were going to the baseball game to see someone who is kind of famous for being a bad singer. We were going to see someone who has been on TV. I don't think he understood.
But seriously, how do you explain WH to anyone? Other Idol wannabes have sung just as poorly as WH, perhaps even worse. And I wouldn't drag my kid to a baseball game to meet them. I sure as heck wouldn't own their godawful CDs. (Although, for the record, I got my WH CD for free. I've only listened to it once. And I don't think I've even listened to it all the way through. There are limits, after all.)
I think WH's appeal, to me at least, lies in the fact that he is who he is, and he's ok with that. I think he's genuine. He's having fun, and he's not trying to be anything he's not. He must know that he's bad, that people are laughing at him, and he recognizes that people need to laugh at someone else once in awhile. And he's smart enough to have found a way to profit from that. He's stretched his 15 minutes out to four years of fame. And I credit him with making me a fan of Idol. I watched to see his horrible audition. I kept watching to see how the rest of the contestants fared. And the rest is history, so to speak.
So anyway, I spotted WH right away, as if I had some kind of WH homing device. He was sitting under a tent right next to the bleachers, ready to sign autographs. I couldn't believe it! Where were the throngs of adoring fans? Where were the security guards? There was barely even a line. He signed a few game programs, and then it was our turn. I was speechless. Troy, luckily, was not. He gave WH the CD, and they joked about how we were the first ones to show up with an actual CD. (I can't help but wonder if we were the only ones.) Meanwhile, I took pictures.
Kyle was thrilled, obviously.
WH wasn't going to perform until the seventh-inning stretch. And we didn't really care too much about watching the baseball game. So we went to BW3 to meet Troy's mom, brother, cousin, and cousin's wife for dinner. We had a nice dinner. Kyle ate ketchup and played with the video games. He also told the waitress that he had gone pee-pee on the potty earlier that day. You could tell she was impressed.
When we got back to the game, we expected it to be approaching the 7th inning. Nope! It was the bottom of the 2nd. I guess we've lost track of how long it takes to play baseball. There were no seats in the bleachers, so we found a table in the concession area. We tried to watch some of the game, but it turns out Kyle doesn't give a lick about baseball. He still calls it golf. Troy took him home and planned to rejoin me closer to the 7th inning.
As I sat watching the game, my WH homing device went off again. I turned around to see WH being led to the men's room by a man in a MoonDogs shirt. MoonDogs Guy stood outside of the men's room while WH, um, did his thing. If I had had any charge left in my cell phone, I would have called somebody to say, "Dude! WH is using the men's room right behind me!" If Troy had been there, I definitely would have sent him in there. Maybe he could have made friends. That would be so cool! (And no, I would not have asked Troy to find out how well WH is, well, "hung.")
Finally, the game reached the 7th inning. Troy and Kyle came back in time. WH sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." It was everything we expected, fabulous in its mediocrity. Then, at the top of the 8th, WH sang his signature song, "She Bangs." Unfortunately, by this time it was dark, and the camera flash kept bouncing back off of the wire fence. And WH directed this performance to the opposite side of the field. So I wasn't able to get a decent picture of him performing. Oh well.
You might as well admit it. You're jealous, aren't you?