Friday, June 26, 2009

Being "Bad"

When I was a kid my parents were very strict about the kinds of music I listened to and the movies I watched. Only G-rated and pre-screened PG movies were permitted. We mainly listened to oldies with some Natalie Cole mixed in and one time when a George Michael video came on TV my parents changed the channel and gave us a lecture about what a BAD MAN he was.

Not being allowed to watch and listen to the forbidden media naturally just made me more curious to find out why such things were in fact forbidden. And I did.

Such is the purpose of cool aunts.

My mom's youngest sister, Jackie, is ten years younger than her and only 15 years older than me. She got married when I was six (a story for another day) and she and her husband Greg were much cooler and more worldly than any other family members. I loved spending the night with them, mainly because they would let me watch and listen to things that weren't allowed at home. And to a ten-year old kid there is nothing better than spending your Friday night watching PG-13 movies without your parents knowing.

Kindergarten Cop and Turner and Hooch are the movies I remember best. Jackie and Greg would also play their illicit music. Like Michael Jackson's "Bad" album. I have vivid memories of trying to moonwalk around their small house while singing "I'm bad, I'm bad." And I FELT "BAD"! Maybe it was "DANGEROUS". My parents would have strongly disapproved if they knew what I was doing and that being bad was just so good.

These memories were the first that flooded my mind at nine o'clock last night when Ann Curry's voice informed us of Michael Jackson's death. I feel like a part of my childhood has died. The part where even doing such harmless things as dancing to the King of Pop at my aunt's house felt so cool.

Now that I'm an adult listening to Michael Jackson (and really, pretty much anything else) doesn't feel risky. I'm allowed. But while freedom is nice, there was something so enchanting about that rush of being "Bad".

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