Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm Pretty Sure His Nose Is Stuck On

So Morticia (not my daughter's real name) performed on Friday at a Halloween-themed school assembly in which all the fourth graders wore masks and did a dance out on the blacktop to "Thriller."

"Hey, that was great this morning," I say to her later after school. "Michael Jackson's song was perfect for Halloween."


"Who?"

"Michael. Jackson. He did 'Thriller.'"

"Hmm," she furrows her brows, "I don't know that guy."

"You've never heard of - wait a minute."

I turn her around and lift the hair off her neck and there it is: my name in Sharpie, just where I wrote it. This is my kid, all right.
I turn her around to face me again.

"You really haven't heard of Michael Jackson?"


She shakes her head. "No, Mom. Did you used to listen to him in the olden days?" she says, then immediately jumps out of my reach in a learned move that I'm sure anthropologists have a fancy term for meaning an acquired, reinforced behavior existing solely for the purpose of ensuring the survival of the specimen long enough to reproduce and pass their sassy genes on to the next generation.

Meanwhile, my brain is doing a massive recalibration. If she doesn't know who Michael Jackson is, then it's safe to say that she also hasn't heard of Peter Gabriel, INXS,
Devo, The Cars, OingoBoingo...the list goes on and on. How could I have overlooked my first-born's musical education - The 80s Edition? How could this be possible when we listen to music in the car all the time?

"My baby!" I cry and gingerly take her face in my hands. "Quick, Honey, tell Mommy - who's the lead singer of Garbage?"


She peers at me with her huge blue eyes, blinks twice and peeps, "Shirley Manson."

"Thank heavens!" I hug her to me. All is not lost. We just need to fill in some blanks.

I take her to the computer.

"Okay, Michael Jackson. Huge, huge star since he was a kid." I Google him and wait an interminable 0.04 seconds for the results. "Hey, he's cute! Who are all the other guys?"

"His brothers. They were called the Jackson 5. He has sisters, too. Okay, now here's a photo from the 'Thriller' days. "
"He's all grown up!"

"Yup, that was in the 80s when he was about the biggest thing going. He had hit after hit."

"Let's see more photos!"

"Sure."

So then we come across this one:

"Who's she?" says Morticia.

"Oh, um, that's Michael Jackson, too."

"Oh, come
on, Mom." She rolls her eyes. "That's a lady."

"Um, well, no. He just looks different than he did back in the 80s. I think it's the longer hair that's throwing you. Here, let's find another picture." I click the mouse and this one pops up:

Five minutes later after the screams and tears have subsided, I try changing course and coaxing her into watching the "Thriller" video.

"Wait 'till you see the dancing, Honey! It's fun - it's like a tiny movie."


[sniff] "Okay, I'll watch Michael Jackson, but not that other lady - she scares me."


"Now, listen - that's not a
lady. That's Michael Jackson, all right?"

"But how can he dance when his nose keeps falling off?"


"Morticia! That picture is fake, okay? It's
pretend."

"Oh!" [looks relieved] "I get it! And they also did the super-white skin and all the
eye makeup as a joke, right?"

"Um," [looks away] "no, that part is real. I think he likes looking that way."


Morticia crosses her arms and stares at me.


"Look, none of that matters, all right? Michael Jackson is the King of Pop! He's pu
t an indelible mark on popular music - decade after decade, don't you see? He's a massive star!"

Morticia puts her hands on her hips and her eyes narrow.

"As big as Miranda Cosgrove?"


[sigh]


_________________________________________

Editor's note: Yup, this really happened. And sorry for the kind of gross (but thankfully fake) nose photo. That's how it rolled out "in real life," as the young 'uns say.

60 comments:

Lynda said...

Okay...that would scare me, too!

Melodie said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! So funny! I actually loved the nose falling off pic. Hysterical!

Deb said...

Oh you poor thing. Suffering from Generation Gaposis in regards to MJ. It's traumatizing, isn't it?
Sends you looking for gray hairs on your head, amongst other places. I suffer it with my son, but not in music, as oddly enough we both like the same music - late 70s/early 80s. I steal his IPod stuff, he steals my old Meatloaf tapes.

The Wife O Riley said...

Unbelievably almost the EXACT conversation happened at our house. My daughter Emerson (also in 4th grade) learned the Thriller dance in her school. She asked me one day if I had ever heard of Michael Jackson.

Well, I whipped out my white sequin glove, ( I keep a spare in the glove box) put on my red leather "Beat It" jacket, lept out of the car and moon walked up to her school.

The Psychologist said she should come out of her comotose state in a couple of days.

nikkicrumpet said...

HEHE...are you REALLY sure the nose photo is a fake? Because I'm thinking it could happen...so maybe it DID happen. And I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one who raised a sassy daughter. Great story..even funnier that it really happened that way.

PJ Hoover said...

We bought Michael Jackson music videos DVD and were able to see the transformation. Too funny!
But yeah, gross picture!

Blicky Kitty said...

Yeah we had the same gaps in the musical education. My eight year old can tell you when the Shins, Feist or the New Pornographers is playing (although in a deft bit of prevarication I might have called them the New Portographers) but is clueless about the whole decade. We solved the problem with a GoGos dress-up dance party with a naked toddler.

Sorry to have scooped you with the Este dynasty, but I've just gotta stay current. Yuknow, the field is wide open for ninth century palimpsests.

Ma'dame French said...

LOL Sharpie pen~~too funny;) I think music died afte the 80's oh crap giving away my age again! French;)

Swirl Girl said...

This was an awesome story that I have to share with my also 4th grader. She knows Michael Jackson's music - but not pre Thriller...and thankfully, not post.

She doesn't know he is whacko-jacko from Santa Barbara (right up the road from us , kind of)

I will add that conversation to our Women's Business Time talks when the subject of plastic surgery and suspected child molestation comes around.

La Belette Rouge said...

Love her question: "But how does he dance if his nose keeps falling off?" That is question we all have asked ourselves at one point or another.

zenmom said...

Now THAT was scary. Not just the nose, but the reminder that these young punks today know nothing of the musical golden era of our youth. *sob* By the way, thanks for the tip re: Sharpie on the neck. Handy.

nicole said...

Just too true.

Halloween I walked in costume into Blockbuster and met Marilyn Monroe there. At the checkout girls asked who she was - Marilyn Monroe - ????

The finally one of the girls said I think I heard that name before!

jennifersusan said...

Don't ya love kids? I was schooling my freshman on the wonders of Meatloaf and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", just the other day. Then again, they think I listen to my music way too loud.

American in Norway said...

Love it... while we were home over the summer my son pulls up Michael Jackson on youtube or something & all of the other kids start SCREAMING & Crying TURN IT OFF... Yes, he is THAT scary.... I remember the days when he was a good looking black man...

Beth Kephart said...

You know, Anna, it's like 5:30 AM over here. And I'm staring down the tunnel of a hatchless nose.

A Michael Jackson Hatchless Nose.

I must go take a blog break now.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Yep...Scares me too!

K and/or K said...

It's sad that the kids who do know him know his downfall, but his MUSIC IS AMAZING!!!!
Still waiting for a comeback albumn,
Kelly

Lizzie said...

yeah.. i was wondering how you were going to explain the physical changes of Micheal Jackson... not only for your daughters sake, but mine! What happened to the king of pop, i miss him. Oh well at least i have my old cassette tapes to remind me of days gone by.

hope your little lady wasn't too traumatized. have a good week.

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Well, Michael Jackson died a long time ago. This strange and creepy plastic distortion of a human is not Michael. LOL. Your poor daughter. I am proud to say that my children know and love lots of classic rock bands. Now, if you want to really freak her out, talk to her about the songs from the "B" side or just where on the 8-track the song changed tracks. LOL.

QuirkyLoon said...

Wait, Morticia is not her real name?

*thud*


(funny, funny post!)

mommaof4wife2r said...

soo stinking funny! and, maybe a little true!

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Oh, Michael Jackson. How can someone so cool in the 80's turn into someone so different now?

HappyHourSue said...

I've started collecting my favorite LP's- Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, the Beatles...my kids think it's hilarious: "Look how HUGE CD's were when mom was little!!!!!!

Theresa Cloyd said...

haha! That was so funny! I can see how that would be hard to explain to a kid. He sure does look freaky now! I have to give your daughter props, I didn't even know who the lead singer of Garbage was.

The Mom said...

LOL, great post and he's turned way into a freak hasn't he?!

Always Home and Uncool said...

I thought Selina Gomez was bigger then Miranda Cosgrove? Shesh - kids!

Ann said...

Funny, bc I just twittered the other day how MJ's nose looks worse than EVER - it now looks like a beak, seriously. I wonder if he craps on windshields now and everything, it's that bird-like.

Okay well, I am truly thankful that she knows who Garbage is; at least you've got her priorities straight. But seriously? MJ isn't part of her generation's collective consciousness -- is that right? Just wow on that. But, they know Nirvana, Sex Pistols etc? The cool stuff? If so, I can't argue...but still...WOW.

Fifi Flowers said...

HURRY... Show her the 13 Going on 30 video... she will love Thriller again... I try to forget that it's the "weird lady with no nose" and I ENJOY that it is a hip girl group dancing and having FUN!
Love the story!

Natalie said...

Crazy, right?

He was soo dang cute with just a little bit of tweaking. I wish we could see the picture he brings in with him every time he goes in for work...who is he trying to look like???

Sue said...

Be happy she didn't know who Michael jackson is....that poor child is going to have nightmares!!......

Bill said...

If I say 'Who the heck is Miranda Cosgrove?', will I sound old and grumpy. Very funny post - great take on the never-ending generational gap.

Jori-O said...

Hahaha! I recently blogged about a {disheartening} conversation with my 8 year-old about MJ. The new generation just has no idea!!

Lula! said...

This was brilliant. And I love that you are concerned with your child's musical appreciation...'cause trust me when I tell you, my girls get schooled in that subject every single day. It's important to me. Seriously.

You are so my kind of people.

MammaDucky said...

Ah, yes. I hope to one day scare the crap out of my kids with Oingo Boingo lyrics. "Helpless" anyone?!

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Poor child missed the golden days of our beloved MJ...did she at least think that the Thriller video was the best thing ever? Cause it is. Fo' real.

Mer said...

Bwaaaa haa haaaa!

I think that maybe the shock and awe you performed on your dd with the "now" photos negates any cultural enrichment from this exercise.

Let this be a lesson to you. :D

muskrat said...

shouldn't we be happy she doesn't know who MJ is?

Justine said...

Heeheeheeeeeeeeeeee! This was hysterical!!!!!!!!! The poor child has now been scarred for life!!!!!!!!

Justine :o )

MuseSwings said...

I think that's a real picture. The nose one. Sure of it. Love the Sharpie idea! The Mister and I might take the idea one step further and write our name AND address. We're getting up there, ya know. I'm at the opposite end of the musical spectrum. What was that? Oingo Boingo..?.. nope, doesn't ring a bell.

My First Kitchen said...

What a great post. This is what I call an education.

Wendy said...

Fun. Ee.

Shan said...

I see this conversation in my future. We are already have barbie vs. bratz issues. I refuse to let her even look at the bratz. Shes only 3, and really only has princess barbies. I think we can wait for hooker barbie till shes at least 3 1/2... ha!
As far as music goes my little brother who is 8 years behind me and I often have musical clashes. He likes to ask "whats this crap?" anytime we rock out to the 80's... dont these kids go to public school and learn ANYTHING USEFUL?

eve cleveland said...

Hon..
While you are at it..will you tell all the juniors out there that those songs on Guitar Hero-THEY WERE OURS FIRST! Oh, yeah, so hit us with your best shot anytime, shorties.
Eve

Maggie said...

So funny!! =) Oh, the conversations we have with our youngens!!!

http://lifewith2boyz.blogspot.com/2008/11/dumb-dumbers-version-of-outsiders.html

Cassoulet Cafe said...

OMG ANNA! That is awful and hilarious too! I was sooooo in love with MJ when i was in 5th grade. The Thriller album was the first tape I ever got. I have a dance to every song on that thing. :)
My 12 year old thankfully knows a lot about lots of 80's music (but I did have to tell her about Oingo Boingo last week).
And ahhhh INXS...my first concert ever, when I was 17. X tour. Nice memories.

Becky :) said...

I remember years ago my friend and Me and all of our kids were watching this Michael Jackson special and both of my children come into the room and want to know who is Michael Jackson. I almost shot soda through my nose. WTH!! I thought to myself how can they not know. But in another thought I was kinda glad they didn't know.

I had to go through the same thing as you, show different stuff on the computer to prove it all. And like your girl, my kids didn't think the new Michael Jackson was the same person as the old Michael Jackson. All in all it made me feel very old that they didn't know who he was.

VE said...

Don't worry...just tell them he lives in Neverland...or the Middle East...they're both ridiculous and she will be safe...

Rhea said...

It is really hard to explain Michael Jackson. I've had to do it too.

Reddirt Woman said...

Okay Anna... who is Miranda Cosgrove? OMG... talk about showing my age. It could be worse I guess... I could talk about Pat Boone, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Ink Spots, The Righteous Brothers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And don't even get me started on movie stars.

Thanks (not) for the reminder of how old I'm getting.

Helen

Real Live Lesbian said...

LMAO! I had no idea his nose was detachable.

angie said...

Wow. What an education. I can see how it was a little traumatic to see Ol' Michaels transformation over the years. I think I need to have a little 80's tutorial for my kids too! :)

Tug said...

I think I'm just not going to mention Michael Jackson when I have kids. (I'd rather avoid the questions.) :]

Queenie Jeannie said...

FUNNNNY!

TattooedMinivanMom said...

Is it sad that I LOVE Peter Gabriel AND I know who Miranda Cosgrove is?

I'm thinking about using the mustache on a stick as a talking stick. But then I'd end up cracking up everytime someone held it up for their turn.

Got something for you.

April said...

Found you on SITS! Don't you just love it when your kids call your growing up years...the OLDEN YEARS!!! I always have to laugh when I hear that!

I used to love Micheal Jackson as a teenager! Then, he turned "weird" and all that changed. Love the picture of his nose falling off...so funny, but creepy!

Heather said...

HEE HEE HEE!

I worked the Fall Fun House (a Halloweenishly themed obstacle course in the school gym, overhead lights out and orange lights strung up everywhere) for two days last week. Two very, very long days of listening to two "Halloween songs for kids" CDs. Thriller was on one of them, but strangely enough, the Vincent Price part was dubbed over by someone else (who did a lamer than lame impression of Vince's laugh at the end). I was singing away to Thriller, the Ghostbusters and Addams Family themes and Werewolves of London, etc, and the kids just filed through, ignoring the crazy, singing mom at the end of the zip line. Not one blink of recognition.

Then a song came on that ALL the kids started singing too with verve and gusto. The Baha Men - Who Let the Dogs Out? to be precise. EWWWWWWWWWWWWW. (I'm a little bit sad that I knew off the top of my head who sang that.) And for the record, what in the hey does letting dogs out have to do with Halloween?

Anyhow, I've made sure that my kiddo, age 5.5, is well familiar with the 80s catalog. We were grooving to a-ha earlier today, had Duran Duran and the Cars on yesterday. Yes, more than half of my iPod playlist is from the 80s, what? :D

bhavin said...

Funny!

Hula's Secret Blog said...

Hahaha! I hate moments like this...makes me feel old!

Braja said...

Damn, that made me feel old .....

Courtney said...

Hahahaha thats great! he is a white woman now! lol