Harry Livingston is the furthest thing from a superhero. He has no idea how to diffuse a bomb, is not the person to call when a hostage crisis needs to be negotiated, nor is he any good at untying knots; so apologies to all of you damsels in distress tied to railroad tracks right now. But I’ll tell what he is really good at: singing.
He’s no Josh Groban mind you, but that didn’t stop him from becoming the lead baritone at his local Baptist church. The congregation always expected a solid performance from him each week; which is what made the fact that Harry woke up this past Sunday with his first ever case of laryngitis so sad. He had no clue where he picked up the germs behind his illness, he just did, and the choir was left to wonder who would replace his dulcet tones.
Fortunately for the church, a man in his late twenties started attending the same church as Harry a few weeks ago. No one really knew much about him. He would just come in, sit in a pew at the back, and then leave before having to endure the awkwardness of shaking the minister’s hand after the service. This week, though, something moved him to approach Reverend Brown not just after the service, but before as well.
“Reverend Brown? My name’s Seth Bogart. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been attending your services for the past month.”
“Yes, you’re the quiet one who sits in the back,” Reverend Brown replied.
“I’d like to change that. I grew up singing in my church choir. If you ever need an extra baritone, let me know. I’d love to do my part for the church.”
“Son, you couldn’t have come at a better time.”
After a quick rundown of which hymns the choir would be singing, Seth Bogart took the role that Harry Livingston had held for thirty years and never missed a beat. How good was he? Well let’s just say that Vegas would gladly kick Jennifer Lopez to the curb if it meant having this guy take up residence at one of its hotels. Fortunately for J-Lo, Seth finds that desert air dries out his skin too much, so he won’t be heading to Vegas anytime soon.
Suddenly, members of the congregation found themselves wanting to confess to sins they hadn’t even committed. People were moved to put ten dollars into the offering plate instead of their usual paltry one dollar. Even the ultra conservative Reverend Brown found himself thinking, ‘You know, maybe next week I’ll actually serve wine at communion instead of the usual grape juice.’
Everyone loved the new baritone; well, everyone except for Harry. He just sat in his pew and fumed. He was supposed to be the star of the Clarence Street Baptist Church Choir, not this little upstart. Who did this kid think he was…Josh Groban? He wasn’t, of course, but he was now the church’s new lead baritone, and Harry was relegated to singing back up.
The church tried to be as nice about it as they could.
“After all of these years, you deserve a break Harry,” they told him.
“Now I know how Dick Clark must have felt when that little turd Ryan Seacrest took control of the New Year’s Eve show away from him,” Harry said to himself.
Decades from now, what happened to Harry will happen to Seth, and he’ll be just as heartbroken and bitter as his predecessor. Going to church doesn’t make you immune to laryngitis or nasty human emotions. It just fools you into thinking that you’re above all of that. Only God is and until people actually pay attention to the lyrics being sung in all of those hymns, they’ll just keep on being part of the most stupid species on earth.