Karen Rivers

the first rule of ukulele club is to never admit you are in ukulele club.

Karen Rivers

When I was in seventh grade, I was in the ukulele club.  There is absolutely no explanation for this.  I was terrible at the ukulele.   I had an appallingly bad singing voice.   I didn't even LIKE the ukulele, it seemed so Hawaiian and cheap (not that Hawaii is cheap), but like the ugly Hawaiian shirt of the strumming instruments.   When I played it, I felt like I was playing the role of a sweaty, middle-aged freak performing an unwanted solo in the middle of someone's otherwise uber-awesome party.

Every part of me that had any sense KNEW that the ukulele club was as cool as standing up in the middle of the classroom and shouting, "I WILL NEVER BE POPULAR!  AND I KNOW IT! AND PROBABLY SOON I WILL GET THE FIRST OF MANY AWKWARD HAIRCUTS THAT WILL PLAGUE ME FOR A DECADE!"   There was no boy in ukulele club on whom I had a crush, I didn't have friends in the ukulele club, there was just no call for it, frankly.  It was social suicide.

I have no idea what I was thinking.  

The only thing I retained from ukulele club was a vague feeling of embarrassment every time the word "ukulele" came up in conversation or when someone played it in Scrabble.  And an absolutely rock-solid ability to remember every word of the song "Country Roads".   

So there is no reason why I should, now, out of the blue, many many years later, suddenly be completely infatuated with rockstars who PLAY THE UKULELE.   But I am.   It's true.   The old feelings of humiliation?  They are gone!   Maybe I'm finally old enough to actually get past something.   Can you imagine?   I mean, it's so unlike me.    I may even unearth my old ukulele, which I'm sure still resides -- untouched -- in a bubble of protective embarrassment in my parents' basement.