Forever MJ

Speaking of dancing, First Son has slowly put his subway love aside for Michael Jackson. He heard “Beat It” at a playdate, which has possessed his brain. He has descended into a scholarly review of all things MJ, including the albums and Weird Al Yanokovic parodies (and beyond. He knows all the words to “Amish Paradise.”) To love MJ is to love his dancing. The man, troubled as he was, was an incredible dancer. The way he moved…nobody else can do that, you know? I can tell First Son is always thinking about MJ. Whether he’s on his way to school, to the kitchen, to the bathroom, he will suddenly break out a move or strike a pose that mimics the hip-swiveling, ankle/wrist snapping Bob Fosse-influenced choreo of Michael Jackson apropos of nothing.

First Son is not a performer exactly. At least, he exhibits the opposite of wild enthusiasm whenever school requires the kids to go on stage. However, left to his own devices, he sinks into his imagination and all bets are off when he’s in his own music video world. He is not shy about taking up as much space as he likes, belting out “Human Nature,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” “Remember the Time,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” “Thriller,” and “Off the Wall” with accompanying slithering moves. For Halloween, he dressed in the Thriller video costume. For his birthday, I brought in cupcakes decorated with mini–Michael Jackson Thriller album cover to class. You get the picture.

My high school BFF visited with her daughter, who was quickly recruited to join the MJ team. The four kids rehearsed and made us wait in the bathroom. When we came out, they played the “Beat It” video on the computer, with First Son, Wonder Twin Girl, and BFF daughter taking turns as MJ, while Boy Wonder Twin played the main villain by going shirtless under a winter parka and wearing a headband.

I mentioned how when BFF was turning ten, she hosted a slumber birthday party where we played “Beat It” over and over again. I still remember her standing on the couch and striking out her arms to beat of each bell in the beginning of the song. (Doesn’t sound so cool when I say “bell,” does it. But what the heck is that instrument then?) She has no memory of that night, so couldn’t appreciate the full-circle-ness of the moment. I had just moved to our town that year, so for me, it was probably more striking…or maybe her memory is just a piece of sh*t.


Mother’s Day

First Son made me a card that featured a wide-triangle shaped pocket, stuffed with cute certificates for a free hug, a morning where he’d let me sleep in (yeah right), etc. We both made the observation that the pocket looked like underwear. We keep it classy.


A.B.D. stands for “Always Be Dancing,” a chorus in this random play Husband and I once saw at Ars Nova that featured a lot of…dancing and actors with terry cloth sweat pants they could rip off to reveal terry cloth shorts. Please, totally fun.

In any case, A.B.D. happens at home now with the little kids, thank god. Nothing cheers me up more than seeing Wonder Twin Girl sliding on the floor, eyes closed, playing the air guitar. Wonder Twin Boy also always performs interesting floor work. Their requests last night were “Call Me Maybe,” “I Don’t Care, I Love It,” and that horrific Justin Timberlake song about sunshine in his pocket.

The Blue M & M

First Son: “Mom, remember when you gave me M&Ms for potty training? I used to really like getting the blue ones because they reminded me of the E train.”

He smiles at the memory. First Son is now old enough to experience…nostalgia? He was all of two during this stage he refers to, and fully ensconced in his multi-year study of NYC subway.

the unequivocal no

One of the greatest pleasures of getting older is being absolutely comfortable saying no and expressing anger. Recently, I was with Los Kids visiting my parents. On our elevator, was an older Asian man in his 60s and younger one in his 20s, both dressed in suits. They were Korean. I noticed them immediately, since they were buzzed in at the same time as me, and there are no other Asians in my parents building. We made chit chat in the elevator, and then I noticed they were going to the same floor.

Older man: Do you speak Korean?
Me: (apologetic) No, sorry. Oh, are you visiting my parents?
Older man: Yes.
Me: [still warm] Are you friends of theirs?
Older man: We are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Needle off the record. I cannot believe this.

Me: You need to turn around right now and leave this building immediately. My father is not well and you will only upset him.
Older man: Oh okay.

They left. I said everything very calmly, my heart rate not that much faster. They were trading on our common ethnic heritage to gain audience and access to our building. And it just so happens, my father despises organized religion. Had they not left, I would have threatened to call the police.

God, and that is the beautiful thing about aging. As you grow more comfortable in your skin, you feel more powerful and you are so all out of f*cks. Like if you call the Tina Lee “f”s store, like sorry, they’re all out.

deep thoughts

Someone needs to invent something in between a beef burger (calorie felony) and the veggie burger (tastes like paste). Oh help me, world!

next life

For many years, I have been praying (you know, as an atheist) that I would come back in the next life as a golden retriever. That’s all I want. This year, I found that golden retrievers tend to gain weight and be overweight. (Ugh, no thank you. I have that covered in spades.) Plus my co-worker’s golden retriever died of cancer.