I am activated again, forced to perform another single for the drunken masses. Yet another lead singer struts his beer-engorged gut on the stage in front of me, as my bandmates and I react to his motions and signals. We cannot help it. We are programmed to be his backup.

Perhaps, this one will be different. Perhaps, he will have style, or tune, or grace. Perhaps, he will not be as dependent on the video screens that play the lyrics in front of him. Perhaps he will be different, and choose a song from our limitless repertoire to sing in his brief moment as star. Motown, perhaps. Or a nice aria. Or maybe some T’sing Dau. T’sing Dau is fun.

But as the familiar refrains shudder forth from my fingers, I realize I am beyond hope. The next five minutes will be yet another lesson in how the human voice can torture a band-bot such as myself.

Why? Why do they always pick that damn song?

“I’ve lived a life that’s full,” the lead singer retches into the microphone. “I’ve traveled each and evry highway. And more, much more than this, I did it mmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy wwwwwaaaaaaaay..”