Tag Archives: serenading

Těší mě, Prezident Klaus

30 Sep

Tuesday at work I was feeling pretty exhausted. I had Monday off after working a 60-hour work week Tuesday-Saturday the week prior. Monday was not enough time off, and I spent most of the day running around, trying to catch up on errands. So Tuesday, I still felt tired, but still found myself back at work. About half way into my 11-hour workday, I get an email from my friend Danilo inviting me to karaoke/trivia night at a bar in Midtown with some of our other softball friends. I was on the fence about it. But in life, your odds of having an amazing night tend to go far up when you force yourself out of your comfortable little home bubble. So out I went. I figured I’d have a beer and head home.

The bar was about two blocks from the UN, and towards the end of the trivia game, a group of about 10 very official looking people came in the door. We didn’t pay them much attention aside from making the joke that they were going to kill us in the Geography round.

At the bar we were at, they shift from trivia to karaoke, so we likewise moved to a table next to the stage and also next to these UN people. I was planning on leaving, but my friends talked me into staying and doing one song, my iconic “9-5” by Dolly Parton. We were the only ones singing karaoke in the bar as most everyone else was invested in the Yankee game on the television screens. But my crew was a diverse set. Maybe the best karaoke performance I’ve ever seen was by my usually quiet friends Trisha and Octavio who banged their heads through Three Little Pigs by Green Jelly. Before I was destined to hit the stage, a man from the UN delegation got up to sing “Satisfaction.” First though, he looked out toward his group and said, “I just want to welcome the president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus and dedicate this song to him.”

I looked toward the table he was pointing at and sure enough, it was the president of the Czech Republic. I’d had a couple of beers by then and was so excited. My friend Danilo began insisting that I meet him and show him my tattoo, a humble homage on my left foot to my time in Prague. As the Rolling Stones karaoker descended the stage, Danilo grabbed him and asked if I could meet the president. The man seemed as excited about it as I was. We got up, and everything happened so fast, I was quickly ushered through a large group of security, all speaking in Czech. All I could make out was “student” and “from Prague.”

In a blink of an eye, I was shaking hands with the president. I searched my inebriated mind for any remnants of the Czech language. I managed to say, “Na Zdravi!” and point at his beer. He didn’t seem to speak English or maybe he just wasn’t interested in speaking English to me. So I was at a loss as to what to say. So, I lifted my left foot up into the air to show him my tattoo.

“Život nezničitelný vždycky jásavý”

I read to him what it said, as he looked confusedly at my foot. He responded by saying something in Czech, and I smiled and nodded having no clue what he had said. I told him “Thank you” in Czech, and he laughed at my feeble language skills. Danilo and I returned to our table, incredulous as to what happened. We all had another round of beers, and I got up to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Whilst I was singing my heart out (I don’t mess around when it comes to karaoke), the UN Czech group was heading out. As the president walked past the stage, he reached out and grabbed my hand. It was surreal, but I serenaded him as best I could. I guess he’s a big Bonnie Tyler fan as well.