So there I was last night, sitting up in my room, watching the wheels go round and round and listening to some slow jams when all of a sudden a song starts to play and a memory comes flooding back into my head that makes me halt what I was doing and try to push it back to the place I thought I had buried it for good.
As much as I love music and associate most experiences I have in life with some song or another, I don’t relish when one of these songs is associated with an event that in retrospect, one has tried so desperately to suppress/forget.
The Song: I’d Still Say Yes by Klymaxx
Period: 1987, 1988 (I think)
Place: ECIAF Campus, Centeno (Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture & Forestry)
Event: Camp El Dorado
Just a little back story:
Camp El Dorado was a Summer “sleep in” Camp concept that the Eastern Credit Union came up with to keep its members’ children occupied during the July/August Vacation period. It was a camp that ran for two weeks and featured activities such as Dance, Drama, Pan appreciation, Sewing (yes not funny), Pottery, Tie dye, Art, Batik, Sports etc. You lived with these people for 14 days and at the end all your activities were placed on display for your parents to view on the final day when they came to collect you.
My mother made it a point of sending me to almost every camp there could possibly be during this vacation period all because she knew I would get up to no good if I stayed at home. So what if you came home and found red sand in the middle of the house or a dog sleeping under your bed when we had no pets. These things are minor. Alas my mother believed in sending me to camp. It builds character.
Anyway let me get to my story.
There was an event called “Camp El Dorado King and Queen Competition”. This event saw campers from all ages vying for the title through a “Ms Universe” type session. One had to display a talent and then answer a questionplus dress elegantly (how thehell one dresses elegantly when you are with poeple for two weeks and they’ve seen all your clothes is still a mystery to me). It was basically a popularity contest. So you know I wanted to be Camp King REAL BAD!!!
I surveyed my competition and found them to be inferior and so I signed up for it. My song choice? You guessed it, I’d still say yes by Klymaxx. I thought for sure that I was going to win it with this song. My other competitors didn’t have what I considered at the time, “The best voices in the land” and I knew I was super intelligent over these mere mortals. So you know I was cocky.
At least four boys form my age group (13-15 year olds) entered and everyone was sure that I was going to win. Sigh….it hurts to remember this…
So I begin to sing and realize that I am a bit nervous and that everyone is staring at me intensely. Needless to say, words were forgotten and made up but I knew I sounded nice. People were impressed with my voice. Two contestants later, came the most popular guy at the camp. He was a stinking pretty boy that always wore a stinking Nike headband and arm band every freaking day we were at camp. It seemed like he had an endless supply of them. Oh how i loathed his popularity. Girls in the camp would stop you and be nice to you only to fnd out that they wanted to know where Mr. popular was at any point in time.
I knew he could not have been my competition because he couldn’t sing to save his life and he had told me two days before that he was going to sing and I had cheered him on in doing it instead of dancing (which he is really good at –don’t hate me I wanted to win). So Mr. Popular came out and sang “Lean On Me”. Wait!!! That wasn’t the song he told me he was singing. How dare he change the song!!!
What transpired that night had me traumatized. He began to sing it and i was laughing internally at the sound of his voice all raspy and very pitchy. Then it happened. Everyone in the audience started to sing along with him. I was mortified. They liked him, they really liked him. When he ended the song, the entire camp made so much noise that it was clear that I was now in Second place.
I came 3rd. Mr. Popular won.
A 10 year boy from the St Mary’s Children’s Home came second. He forgot his words as well but again the crowd sang with him. Why didn’t they sing along with me? How can you forget the words to Amazing Grace? Where is the JUSTICE!!!!
I was devastated. I refused to talk to the popular guy who came up to me afterwards and thanked me supporting him in his desire to sing. Yeah Whatever!!! He said that he knew we would be good friends since I was so supportive.
Mr. Popular was a guy by the name of Tyrone Marcus. Anyone that knows him knows what a good guy he is and how disgustingly nice he can be so one can never hate him. A couple years later, while in Sixth Form with Tyrone, I would affectionately refer to him as “Perfect Smurf” and try not to choke him when he did a good deed, which was like every 5 minutes.
The following year I entered again and sang a song called “Make it Real” by the Jets. I messed up this one was telling everyone I would sing part of it in Spanish. Well my idea of Spanish went all wrong as I never bothered to learn the correct Spanish lyrics and just did my own thing. That put me into Second place. Carver Trim won that one with his sweet rendition of “The Greatest Love of All”
I vowed after that never to enter another competition as long as I live. I’ve kept true to that promise.
Hopefully with me writing this I’ve finally placed that demon to rest and can safely listen to both of those songs without cringing. Somehow I doubt it, but we’ll see…