My Favorite Weird Al Story
So tonight, I am sharing some teenage history with everyone. I took part of a day off on Friday as I was making a trip to Knoxville. This would be the reason you got a blog post Thursday and not Friday this week. Some months back, for our anniversary, my wife bought tickets for us to go see one of my favorite musicians in concert. Weird Al Yankovich came to The Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, TN this past Friday.
I have been a huge fan of his work since I was a kid. The first song I ever heard by the man was Dare To Be Stupid. It was the beginning of a strange but awesome fascination with parody music and songs. I have listened to other artists over the years but this man is the king of parody and another of my heroes. I can’t say he inspired me but I can say he’s the reason my senior English teacher pretty much hates (or hated) my guts. My senior year, like the rest of my years in high school, we were required to write journal entries and leave them in a folder that the teacher collected at the end of the first twenty minutes of class. We were told that these would never be read by anyone and that this was to teach us discipline in writing. We were told we had to write about specified topics at times. Most days, we were allowed to write whatever we wished but we were given a general guideline topic so that if our little seventeen year old minds couldn’t handle thinking on our own… well you get the picture. Anywho, I decided that since I did not care for the topics at hand that I would immortalize my favorite musician, at the time, Weird Al. I used to write the lyrics to his songs in my journal entry and then leave clever little comments about how it related to whatever the topic suggestion was for the day. Most times, it really had nothing to do with it but I was angry at the world and I was seventeen. My favorite day was the day I walked in to class the day after a particular journal entry subject was required writing. We were to write about “The Christmas Season”… Thank You Weird Al. I wrote the lyrics to The Night Santa Went Crazy.
The day after this particular topic, I walked in to the classroom and was called to desk by the teacher. I had peeked in on my way to my early bird class because I knew she got there early and read everyone’s journals. Now most students did not know she did this. Being the persnickety little shit that I was, I liked to find these things out. This wasn’t just about being seventeen and bucking authority (note I said JUST about). This woman despised my sister and was disgusted by some of my choices in friends. She always picked on me because of these things. Fortunately (depending on how you look at it), I am smarter than the average bear and she could never trip me up. This day, though, she thought she had won. Now I’m not proud (now) of some of what I did then but I did it and I stand by the reasoning for it. She called me to desk as her intention was to humiliate me in front of the class.
This stemmed from an incident previously where we were given required writing about a class mate’s sudden death in car accident of his own creation. We were given a required topic of writing about death and our feelings on death of a loved friend in our class. The long and the short of this story is that the boy was not my friend and in fact he picked on me. I wrote exactly about that and how I was ambivalent regarding his death because of his actions toward me. Did I think he deserved to die, yes I did (please understand I was seventeen and did not understand things the way I do now) because he was mean and horrible to me. The rantings of a teenage mind and all that. I know she read this entry because I walked in on her reading it. My journal was very obvious as it spoke of my personality with all the things I’d done to the folder.
Anyhow, as a result, she thought she’d caught me and was going to make it very hard on me. Given her past with my sister, contacting my parents for my “disruption” was rarely an option as far as the principle was concerned. I stuck by the letter of the rules and he knew it. She asked me to please explain (very loudly in front of the whole class) my reasoning for writing such a horrible song about a fictional character of the Christmas Season. Mind you, she thought she was winning and most of my class mates gave this look of “Oh Lord, what’s he done now?” So I, being the ever tactful seventeen year old that I was, answered with my own question: “How do you know I wrote about a fictional character? I thought you verbal agreement with us, at the beginning of the semester, was that you would never invade our privacy and read our journals?”
She did such a great republican imitation that I still laugh regarding the memory. She sat there stuttering and going Er.. Uh…I… Um… This woman, as far as I was concerned, was useless and deserved no pity from me as she was “a lesser being” (Remember: 17…This is just the tip of my iceberg :D ). “In fact, I seem to recall you reading everyone’s journal’s this morning and every morning before that. If this is such a private matter and we are supposed to expose our true feelings and trust that you will respect our privacy, how is it you know any of the things that were written? Maybe we need to take this up with Dr. Davis (The principle). This is, after all, a violation of my student privacy. And I didn’t write anything horrible about killing myself of someone else so ethics don’t enter to this. (I was/am an intelligent shithead).
Now, as you can imagine, the class erupted in to laughter… Mostly because these momo’s had no true understanding of what I was saying but they thought it was funny that yet again I had made the teacher out to be an ass and in front of the whole class. And all thanks to Weird Al Lyrics. Now I should note that I am not enticing teenagers to do this kind of thing. Though, if my own daughter ever does this (as long as it’s within the rules) then I will be very proud of her. She should think for herself and so should everyone. This is a massive issue any more with our young people. Yes, I say this knowing I am not much older than our young people. I rarely got in trouble for the stunts I pulled in that class but it was because I was able to outsmart a woman who didn’t know how to think let alone do so on her feet. She made it personal and so did I for her attitude towards me. This is one of those fond memories of funny that we all have but I look back now and understand the true disrespect that I handed out. See, just because I was justified or in the right doesn’t make it the right way to handle things.
I send this out as a message to all teenagers: It is hard to be a teenager and yes it is even harder to be an adult and even harder still to be a parent. I can only imagine what it will be like to be a parent to a teenager right now because my daughter is only four. However, if she shows even half of the sass she gets from her mother and me in school we are both in for a wild ride when she hits that age. I think, as a parent, that sometimes we need to take a step back and breathe. I am guilty of making some really bad choices in the heat of the moment and realizing later what a screw up I was. I am doing my best not to repeat those mistakes but also remind myself that children need patient parents. There’s a lot that goes in to that thought that I can’t express right now. But I can say that I will not face the issues that some of you parents out there that will because your child is autistic, dyslexic, or maybe something even worse. I share this memory with that in mind and want to wish you all the best of luck.