Michael Jackson is the KING! (King of pop, that is.) My son knows this well. Ever since he was a young kid, you could find him pop-locking to Michael’s music and mimicking a mean moonwalk. On a daily basis, he would ask for me to play “Beat It” and at the first downbeat, he would toss the hat he stole from his auntie Pam onto his head, jerk his lower torso back and forth, kick his leg in the air and scream, “Wooooo!” Yes, he had committed the entire dance to memory, and it made me chuckle every single time he performed it.
One Halloween, he worried me sick. He ran through the door, determined to make his demands. All of the kids at school were bragging about the outfits they planned to sport that day, and he had to be included in the conversation. When he got home, he explained in great detail that he just had to have a “New” Michael Jackson outfit, complete with the hair, gloves, jacket and shoes. Little did he know, I already had a weave under my bathroom sink, and his black church shoes were gonna have to do. As for the gloves, a trip downtown would allow me to get a pair for $5.00 and a bag of rhinestones for a whoppin’ $0.99 cents. Now, what did I do with that glue gun?
It is times like these that living in Los Angeles is not so bad! However, this blessing quickly becomes a curse when your child is an undercover fashion guru. There would be no makeshift hair, no junkyard shoes, and no thrift store gloves allowed this Halloween. No, sir! He wanted the item in the bag that cost $55.95. I am holding my chest as I write this. Is it illegal to charge consumers that much money just to play scary games? To wear these outfits for one day, and one day only, made my stomach turn somersaults. Was my son nuts?
I walked out of the store having paid a bill of $109.95 for two outfits that I wish I still had today. (Clearly, I was the nutty one). I swore I would make them wear each outfit every year, and then use them as heirlooms for my grandkids. It was an investment, and I had no intention of placing it into a bag to give away to someone else’s child. Stories would be told in my family for years to come because of Mr. Jackson.
A few weeks ago, my children and I were sitting down watching the 413th re-run of a show on the Disney channel. Staring at the screen as though the first time watching the scene play out, they cut to a commercial. The next sketch was that of a Disneyland adventure. In the spirit of being true children, the boys began to drop bomb-sized suggestions of returning to the happiest place on earth that leave parents pissed they ever went. The opportunity arrived, and like little rich kids, they took the day off from school and went…with their babysitter. I bargained with them to bond at a later time on flat ground and at a park that is no more than half an acre in size. Walking an entire nation was not appealing. From my youngest child’s perspective, if that nation included M. J., it was worth the trip.
After a long and eventful day (and still infused with a ton of energy), they were dropped off to me and immediately recounted their experiences. My ears burned of the tales they told of old people arguing, riding roller coasters that made their hearts stop mid-breath, and sneaking food into the facility, because $20 for a cheeseburger is just unconstitutional. I can always tell when my youngest is in deep thought. He entered that space and lifted his finger in the air as if to say, “I think I’ve got it!”
“Mom.” I didn’t answer at first. “Mom. You gotta hear this.”
Even though I had not walked for ten hours, I have raised them together for 10 years, so we were even on the exhaustion tip.
“Yes, baby.” I whispered.
“Why are you whispering? Sean’s not sleeping!” How considerate of him. “We went to see EO today. Did you know that?”
“I figured you would see the show today,” I responded. Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes, I did.” He pauses. “But, I think I figured something out that I never knew before.”
“Really? What was that?” I sat up a bit, because I never know what this boy is going to say.
“I think Michael Jackson died because he grabbed his crotch too hard. Do you think so?”
While his reasoning would have kept Michael’s doctor out of prison, I offered that it could have been the beginning of all of his problems.
“Well, that just means that Sean and I have to be very careful when we use the bathroom, or we could die too!”
Spoken like a true commoner.
Laugh, people. It’s good for the soul!