Hey Taylor Ward. Help a girl out. Did this actually happen? Song 142.
I used to be afraid that I remembered stuff weird. Like differently than other people. Which often made a liar out me. Because sometimes I knew there was difference between my explanation and the one that was right or at least the one that was supposed to be. My version always had more to it somehow. Fake parts to make it a better story. But after awhile the fake parts got mushed in with the real parts and then after that it was just all jelly to me. I couldn’t remember which parts were “real” and which weren’t. It was all significantly more outlandish when I was young. Like I had a tiger in the basement kinda stuff. As I grew, it was more like a Benjamin Button meets Big Fish kinda thing. Still romanticized but more realistic as far as magic stuffs goes. Maybe that’s why I spend so much fucking time in the bathtub!
When I was in junior high my friend Taylor’s Mom lived in the city. We would go to her house sometimes to stay the night. She lived by the original Old Town School of Folk Music and I remember waking up there to children singing. One time, for Taylor’s birthday, three of us went downtown for the night. I remember pizza but not much else. Well, except for this.
During the day we went to Water Tower Place to go shopping, because that’s exactly how you did it then. Taylor, Katie, Jennifer and I. So there we are, shopping. Going down an escalator to be exact. And there it was. One of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
Coming up the other side, in what seemed like slow motion, was Michael Jackson, several children and several body guards. Michael was wearing a black surgeon’s mask. All of us froze and watched the group go by us. I don’t even remember getting off the escalator. I just remember standing there in shock trying to figure out what just happened and what to do. Jennifer and Katie thought it was lame to go back up stairs to see if that was possibly real. Taylor and I were already halfway up the escalator.
So we get upstairs and follow the group into some kind of tiny fancy candy store. And I mean (tiny). And then we try and play it cool. And just, like, shop. At some point, while pretending to look at a wall of chocolate or something we begin a whispered conversation that goes something like this. “go say something.” “no you go say something.” “you’re the one who wants to be famous.” “what?” “you go say something” and so on. In my mind, Taylor even pinched my arm, but I swear to God that is the part of this story that I find the most unbelievable.
And then suddenly, he is just there. Right there, next to Taylor. Of course, we both silently die. And then, Michael Jackson, yes, I said it, Michael Jackson, The King Of Pop, THAT one, says to her “Hey. Do you know if there is like a regular candy store in this mall?”
I was in awe as Taylor kept it together as she explained the location of another store with out exploding. However, I do remember Michael distinctly asking her if she thought “they would have bubblegum?” Taylor said yes. And inside of that second, you could feel the group surge together and begin to disappear so fast it felt like I had the Bends. But somehow, I sprung into action. I literally jumped in front of Michael Jackson, yes THAT Michael Jackson, and said. “Hi. Are you Michael Jackson?” He nodded and quietly said yes. So I asked him if I could shake his hand. And so I did. And so did Taylor. And then they were gone.
We stood there for a moment in shock before it dawned on us to try and go see where they went. We busted ass out of that chocolate shoppe but….Poof! Cloud of smoke. They were all, probably seven or so people, just totally gone. Nowhere. Not on the escalator cresting out of view. Not out front, blending into the crowd. Let alone, being surrounded by one. They were nowhere.
So Taylor and I hightailed it downstairs to the Banana Republic to scream our story at our friends. Even then, minutes later, as we retold it, it seemed like a lie. The last thing I remember is a dude who worked at that store saying something to the effect of famous people coming in and out of service doors. And that’s all I’ve got.
In my mind, that is exactly how that happened. Your thoughts?
By the way Taylor, I like thinking of you happy. With a kid on your knee, in the California sunshine, reading this and laughing.
Even if, that’s not how it went down at all. ♥
In case you are interested, this is how I got here today. Actually, this might be the one time I will just straight up say it. You should be. Because one way or the other it’s exactly how you got here too. This is the PBS version of part of a book that completely changed my life. It’s called The Day The Universe Changed by James Burke. It was part of the curriculum in a class I took at Columbia College with Dr. Steven Asma called Philosophy and the History of Science.
It made me quit everything. In a good way. Although, I think I am only now, starting to figure out why.
Jeez, took me long enough! Whoops.
And also, this might be the other time I will just straight up say it. This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.
With thine eyes.
BTW. Is that a copy of Franny & Zooey by the typewriter?
Yuuuuuuuup. Me thinks.