One of my earliest childhood memories is of my parents driving my brother and I home from the mall. I was 5 or younger because my youngest brother hadn't been born yet. Like every kid in the world, my brother and I were huge Michael Jackson fans. I don't know that my folks were as huge of fans as we were. Anyways.
We went to Hot Dog on a Stick, walked around the toy store (probably KB Toys), Walden Books, and Sam Goody. I remember seeing the poster for Michael Jackson's Bad album on the wall. My brother and I talked about how cool it looked. We rarely went to the mall and we much more rarely ever left with anything besides dinner in our bellies and tired eyes from window shopping.
We piled into the van and headed home. Just before we got home, a Michael Jackson song came on the radio. My brother and I were ecstatic. "You better get out of the car and turn it on the radio in the house before it's over," my dad said. We ran out. Turned it to the station. Commercial. "Dad! Mom! What station?" Then they answered with the station. It wasn't on.
My brain was white noise. I was confused. I was sad because I was going to miss the song. Out of the purse comes the cassette for Bad. They gave us a little surprise. It was great. We must have worn out the tape on it we listened to it so much.
It's a great memory. It gives me a feeling of warmth to recall it. But now that I'm actually sitting down trying to recall the details, I'm realizing there are a few things wrong with the story. It's hard to believe Sam Goody would have a poster of Bad still on the wall after four years. Surely, they'd take it off the wall. Especially when Dangerous was either just released or right around the corner. That must have been the poster my brother and I gawked at. Now that I think about it, we had probably pulled the Bad CD out of the stack and talked about how cool the graffiti was and the leather jacket and all that.
I remember very clearly flipping through CDs. In those days, CDs were packed in these really long cardboard boxes with the jewel cases at the very top. I think this was just an interim solution to converting vinyl shelving to CD shelves. Cassettes were still very much a thing in the early 90s so it's not baffling that my folks would get a cassette. They couldn't do their car-radio trick if they got a CD. We had a CD player at home.
It's not really important - the details. Details are good for vibrancy but the feeling and the "story" is still there. The past is always changing, no matter how hard we try to cling to the idea that it is affixed to a timeline far away. Perspectives change, your current self fucks with the details to make it relevant to you in your current moment. The past only serves the present and the present is always doomed to be past.
It was ten years and a month ago I moved to Texas. I told my friend, Jack, I was just going on a short trip to absorb a part of America I only knew via Hollywood stereotype. Texas was just horseshit and tumbleweeds in my mind.
There's no point to this post. It's just the process of untangling whatever is going on in my brain.
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