A Tale of Two Microphones

I don’t write much about my husband. He’s this shadowy figure who makes occasional appearances in my writings, but mostly I’ve kept him on deep background.

I love him to pieces. He’s hilarious. But I think it best not to lump him in with all my shenanigans.

Today, however, is Bill’s birthday.

(Note: Some of you may know him as “James.” This is another part of what makes him a shadowy figure. The man goes by two names like he’s Superman or something.)

And he is THE hardest person on planet Earth to buy for. Let’s just peruse the wish list, shall we? A boat. Another boat. And maybe a different kind of boat.


See? He has a boat already. He made it – another reason he’s kind of like a superhero in my book.

So I usually buy him some dumb action movie to collect dust on the decrepit DVD tower, a stack of plaid J Crew shirts, and call it a day. A sad, sad day, but a day.

Today I’m gonna change all that. Today I’m going to WRITE about him.

Actually, I already wrote about him. I’m just going to put back into circulation the embarrassing stuff I wrote about him before. (How’s that for pulling out ALL the stops?)

Hey, it’s cheaper than a birthday card, plus there’s a whole lot more words. And I mean every one of them still.

Matrimony and the Microphone: A Karaoke Love Story – published in the Lyme Times – June 5, 2008

I have never darkened the door of Chuck E. Cheese’s. And with two little kids, I consider that a major personal achievement.

(Note for 2014 readers: I have since lost that distinction, and I’m not proud of it. Those freaky mechanical puppets haunt my dreams.)


Here’s the evidence. Those tongues probably licked every germ throbbing on every surface in the place.

But now I can say I’ve been to the grown-up version.

Along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where the whole Filiatreault family just vacationed together, we left the kids with their grandparents to hit what could have been the Jimmy Buffet Fan Club headquarters – a touristy dive in Duck that was all garish Key West pastels and fish bowl margaritas.

Where Mr. Cheese offers juice boxes, this place serves hollowed out coconuts carved to resemble a monkey’s head with a bendy straw poking out the top. (Attached is a little gold sticker that reads, “Also a coin bank.” Good to know.)

Where Mr. Cheese offers foosball and a ball pit, this place has Karaoke Night.

Overseeing this operation was a graying man in glasses and a Hawaiian shirt who could have been your office computer guy.

His puffy jester hat must have been calling to us. Before we knew what hit us, Bill and I had grabbed a set of microphones and were belting out the most ear-splitting duet of Islands in the Stream those pink walls had ever endured.

“Tender love is blind, it requires a dedication!” Bill scrunched up his eyes in mock passion, gripping the mic with both hands.

“All this love we feel needs no conversation!” I screeched with total commitment. A Russian guy in a cowboy hat with a plastic ball and chain around his ankle looked on from his bachelor party and winced.

It was a terrible duet lovingly dedicated to our ten-year anniversary, and it was one of the most mortifying things I’ve ever done.

Part of me felt ancient. Swaying our coconut monkey heads to Piano Man with a bunch of drunk college kids isn’t exactly our scene anymore.

But that tone-deaf display was a throw-back to the couple we were ten years ago, exemplifying the campy brand of goofiness that brought us together in the first place.


My office gave us – what else? – but a karaoke machine for our wedding. With dual mics. Now that’s love.

As I watched him dance “the running man” in front of strangers, I swooned with love for that guy.

And as I watched him scoop up our little girl in the frilly swimsuit and carry her into the surf, I swooned with love for that guy, too.


This is them then.

I love both those guys, and I’m been very blessed to have them in the center of an awfully good life these past ten years.

Bill, James, whoever you are…I will always love you.

Hmmm, that reminds me of a song. I’ll have to save that one for anniversary #20.