Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who Is Michael Jackson?

Do you have moments in your life where you wonder if you've stepped into an alternate reality? Or maybe, even though you aren't on the verge of death, you're having an "out of body" experience?

I have had two such moments. The first came in the third grade.

Three of my friends decided they wanted to choreograph moves to a song called "Beat It". (I had never heard it. But I didn't tell them that.)

I was recruited to be a part of this. To this day, I don't remember why I agreed. I don't even remember actually agreeing. I think something must have taken over my mind and body. Maybe aliens.

I guess it doesn't matter how I became a part of this because it happened. I joined them. During recess. During recess we practiced. I practiced. Dance moves. To a song I didn't know sung by a man I'd never heard of.

We did this for a week. And someone got the big idea that we should perform for the class. Even now my gut is twisting and rolling with embarrassment and shock. I don't know what possessed me. And, seriously, I had to be possessed.

The day came. The teachers pushed back the accordion collapsible walls, we wore our dresses and jelly shoes, and performed this collection of gyrations and cartwheels.

Luckily, no one made fun of us. At least, not to our faces.

This memory is one I've tried to block for a long time. Whenever I think of it, I shudder. Still. And I'm forty.

I spent a week of recess, dancing. When it was over, I finally woke up and tried to come to terms with what I'd willingly participated in. I went through the following days as if it had been the most normal thing in the world to dance for the entire third grade. I didn't apologize for it. Or look embarrassed. And I certainly didn't ask the question that had been on my mind since the whole idea formed and became real ---

Just who the heck is Michael Jackson?

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