It was February 1984, the 29th to be exact. It was a leap year so there were 306 days left in that year. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney were sitting pretty at the top of the Billboard Charts with their hit Say Say Say and Van Halen was waiting in the wings ready to JUMP.
I think fashion could easily be described as “anything goes” highlighted by mismatched colors and textures, cheap jewelry and lots of it, billowy, flowing, cropped and carefree. Hair was big and about to get bigger.
When you are ten Pop Culture is important and you look up to and emulate your role models. 1984 was a big year. Cyndi Lauper made the bold statement that “Girls just wanna have fun” Madonna burst onto the scene telling us it was sexy to be “Like A Virgin” Frankie goes to Hollywood and tells the world to “Relax” George Michaels Wham wants you to “Wake me Up Before you Go Go”, Prince had “Purple Rain” falling out of the sky and the big haired super couple of the year was Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez, I guess today they would be called De-milio. Michael Jackson starred in the Classic Pepsi commercial making Cream Soda so yesterday.
That morning I rose early and went down to our little work-out room. Aerobics was also big and I was donned in pink tights, a black leotard and leg warmers. I had a cotton head band, not really holding my hair back but it looked super cool. I looked very Olivia Newton-Johnish. I was excited because my Michael Jackson cassette was already loaded in my little black tape player and my blue puffy mats were arranged perfectly and I was all set to do my ten year old version of a Heavenly Bodies work out set to the tune of Wanna be Startin Something. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the work-out room to find all my MJ posters torn and hanging off the walls. I was devastated and I held back tears. My brothers were hiding around the corner stifling their childish giggles.
Little fuckers!! Had I been able to talk through my tears I would have told them to go jerk off in some socks or something!
So here I was in my ridiculous pink outfit, crying like a damn baby and my brothers were laughing at me. It was the worst day of my young life so far. I stomped up the stairs making sure that each step landed harder then the last and when I got to my bedroom I slammed the door and then I opened it and slammed it again, just in case everyone didn’t get it the first time.
I changed into my school clothes and dreaded spending a morning on math problems that at 39 I have never had cause to refer to. At some point during the day I passed both my brothers in the school hallway. The younger one was quiet and hung his head, not feeling like such a big man on his own. The older one was still incredibly smug and looked and me with a sneer.
My mother tried to make it better but in those days I liked to hold onto my surly anger. She must have spoken to my Dad because he came home with the medicine to bring my smile back. He brought a framed picture of Michael Jackson, better then all those torn posters put together, some silver sparkly MJ socks and an imitation of his famous silver glove. I was elated. How cool was I?
The little brats didn’t get anything. Na na na na