Lost Journal: Senior Class Trip Hits Sour Note

Journal entry: June 8, 1987 (age 18) – Senior Class Trip

Today’s Monday, and we didn’t go to school. That was reason enough for the Seton Catholic Central High School Class of 1987 to celebrate. But more importantly, today was our senior class trip to the Darien Lake amusement park. We were lucky to be going at all. Last week, some of my more industrious classmates had gotten up in the middle of the night, stolen dozens of real estate For Sale signs from all over Binghamton, and stuck them in the front lawn of our school. It was an impressive, but punishable, sight.

But here we are on a rented bus, heading back from the second-biggest tourist attraction in the Niagara Falls area. Everyone is pretty beat after a long, fun, complex-carbohydrate-filled day in the sun. Many of my 157 classmates are listening to Walkmen and dozing. Murmurs of the Bangles, Bon Jovi, and the Breakfast Club can be heard amongst the snores. Those without earphones are being subjected to distinctly unmelodic tones made by my friend, Pat McCormack, and me. During our many ski club bus trips together, the two of us perfected our version of the worst, most repetitive party anthem of all time. In robotic monotone, we loudly sing the chorus of this classic by Kiss: “I want to rock and roll all night, and party every day!” We don’t really sing it, though. We just overpronounce the words in rhythm, stressing the wrong syllables. Then we repeat it 30 or 40 times.

This provided a fitting capper to a day filled with bad singing. Darien Lake recently added an attraction called “Karaoke Recording Booths,” and many of us had spent a bad portion of the day recording our own vocals over backing tracks, and then listening to them being played over loudspeakers. I’ve never heard of “karaoke,” but I think it’s Japanese for “mouth hurt ear.” Pat and our friend, Peco Hull, named their vocal duo “Dudes with Bats,” and were particularly proud of the cassette that immortalizes their version of Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” As epic as that session was, though, the song may end up being redone for Peco’s long-planned album Tokyo Sucka Punch, by his long-planned band, Devastation Wagon.

Jim Root, Jack Donovan and I chose to remove any redeeming value from an overplayed Euro-shlock hit by a trio of bonny British birds named Bananarama. “Venus” proved to be even more execrable material in the hands of three talentless teenaged boys. “Goddess on the mountain top, burnin’ like a silver flame.” Jim’s lead vocal had an inappropriate urgency to it – one that bordered on belligerence. To really sell the next line, he deepened his voice and traded the word “and” for a more dramatic ellipsis: “Summit of beauty…LOVE.”

Some of our other choices of songs, and what to do with them, didn’t exactly comport with the Christian education we are about to complete. We should be ashamed of ourselves, and probably will be someday. For now, we’re amused that a roller coaster called The Viper reversed the digestive direction of a number of our classmates, and we like to think our singing helped.

Tim Mollen
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