If I continue to sing in the house, there is every chance that my partner will behead me.
Taken in isolation, this statement could well make the poor woman sound like a shrew of uber-Shakespearean proportions; frankly, that conclusion would be misguided, the result of missing information.
You see, until you have lived in our house, it’s difficult to appreciate just how much time I spend singing.
At any hour of the morning or evening, I am but a chance remark away from breaking into song.
- You used a phrase which appears in the lyrics of a song I know? I’m singing it.
- You spoke about a TV programme, a film or a computer game I know? Get ready for the theme music.
- You – foolishly – mentioned an actual piece of music? Strap yourself in… I’m singing the whole thing, including my verbal approximations of any interesting instrumentals or percussion. WITH ACTIONS.
It takes a person of peculiar patience to tolerate this. Once that patience is exhausted, decapitation is the inevitable consequence. It serves me well to remember this fundamental truth.
There is an argument, of course, which asserts that if my partner has reached the stage of co-habitation and child rearing with me, she has had plenty of opportunity to sever my head already. It follows that, if she hasn’t done so by now, she likely never will – or even that she no longer has any right to complain.
As a fair-minded person, I have to argue in response – and apparently, bafflingly, in favour of my own execution – that the river of domestic song has grown wider in recent days. I lay the blame for this development, predictably, upon my seven month old son.
Why should this poor child carry the can for yet another one of my idiosyncrasies? It’s because the little mischief-maker encourages me, that’s why.
He laughs, you see. His mouth spreads into a crude, half-moon shape, his eyes crinkle up and a primal, half-roaring-half-exhalation sound spills out of him. It doesn’t matter if I’m making up rhymeless nonsense on the spur of the moment, or doing my utmost to precisely recreate a beloved album recording… he laughs. It’s the most rewarding sound I’ve ever heard.
He’s also something of a singer himself. Each morning between 5.00am and 6.30am, as light streams into his room, David begins to serenade us. He emits a lilting chain of vowel sounds as he rolls back and forward, batting at his mobile and closely examining the tiny scratch mitts which prevent him from tearing out his eyes in the night. My partner and I will often lie, giggling quietly to each other, as our heir darts up and down the vocal scale like the needle on a lie detector.
Having observed her reaction to the wee man’s putative warblings, I now have a stratagem to keep my skull affixed to my spine. I’m going to encourage David to sing as loudly and as often as he likes… hopefully, by the time he’s about five, my positively demure spells of crooning will slip by unnoticed in his bellowing backwash.
Keep your fingers (and tonsils) crossed for me.