There’s something about being comfortable in situations that tends to lead me into hilarious mistakes. This past week I was asked to lead the music for a congregation of people. The patriotic music and already been chosen by someone else, but I was fine by that, I’ve always loved patriotic music.
So there I stand singing and waving my arm about, having a good old time. Well, the last song just happened to be the National Anthem—a song I have sung acapella probably a hundred times for various sporting events. It’s hard for person like me not to get cocky with that kind of comfort level. I didn’t even bother to look at the music for almost the entire first verse. But as I’m swinging my arm I can tell my arm-motion is off, I’m not hitting the top of each measure right. To people who don’t know music this probably wouldn’t bother you, but it was the weirdest sensation for me to keep singing although the 4/4 time of my arm was off. I finally look down at the top of the music and see that it is written in 3/4 time. I’d just gone almost the entire first verse in the wrong meter time. This gave me such a fit of giggles I struggled to finish the next two verses with the kind of dignity the National Anthem deserves.
It just goes to show—no matter how expert you think you are—it’s always a good idea to check the instructions at least once.