How To Play A Mean Jukebox by Katie White

You know what I miss most about getting drunk? Slow dancing to dive bar jukeboxes.
I can play a mean jukebox. Seriously–I can’t count the times a stranger asked
if that was my music and complimented the song choices.
I’d like my spirit of good jukebox playing to live on. So here’s how to play a jukebox.
Pro-tip: have a strategy, but make it appear effortless.

1. Get your songs kind of ready in your head before approaching the jukebox.
You’re probably not the only person in the joint. Don’t bogart.

2. Go for eight songs. Any less is a weird teaser, more is okay, but not more than 10.
If you want more than 10 songs, do it in two doses of eight.

3. Have a quasi-theme. Roll with it. Commit.

4. The first song has to be one you don’t need to sing along to because you’ll still
be at the jukebox playing the rest of your money. So make it good, but not fabulous.
You’re just getting warmed up here.

5. DO NOT EVER hit “play first” and cut in on someone else’s music.
That’s rude. Don’t be a fucking animal.

6. Build up. Song six should be your proverbial denouement,
then come back down to end majestically at eight. Leave ’em wanting more.

7. Make the eighth song one that everyone can sing along to.
Or if you’re drunk enough, one that you can sing along to loudly
enough to pretend everyone else is singing with you.
Ignore the staring. Pretend it’s because you’re amazingly attractive.

8. This isn’t really the time to experiment with instrumental music.
Curious about pan flutists? Play that shit at home. No one else wants to hear it.

9. Know your audience. Is this really the time for Lucero? Trick question. It’s ALWAYS time for Lucero.

10. It’s okay to play the same band, but not for all eight songs–that’s called being a Jukebox Asshole (JA).
Let’s say three songs by the same band is fine.
You’re heartbroken and whiskey-stupid? Fuck it. Go for all eight.
That sums up the very basics. I wish you all jukebox joy.

Katie White - Copy

Kate White currently does freelance writing for a variety of small businesses, ghostwrites for a Pittsburgh-based publishing house, is one of six playwrights for the Beautiful Cadaver Project—from which the play, northeastsouthwest, will be produced and performed at Fringe Festival-Pittsburgh in April 2016, all while working on a small chapbook of poetry-prose based upon her nightly lucid dreams. She holds a double Master’s in Creative Writing and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Memphis. Kate’s been a freelance writer for 15 years, taught nonfiction writing to Bible Belt undergrads, and also rehabbed fighting dogs. Recently, she moved from Memphis back to her hometown of Pittsburgh and shares her life with two catnip-dependent cats and a three-legged wonderdog. Kate has poetry and/or literary nonfiction published or soon to be published in: ninepatch: A Creative Journal of Women’s and Gender Studies; Life As An (Insert Title Here); As It Ought to Be, Saturday Poetry Series Presents; Stone Highway Review; Blue Collar Review; Photosynthesis Magazine; and Phoebe Lit Journal.


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