29 June 2009

Wee Lass and the King of Pop (It's Not What You Think)

Sunday, noon, at Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop:

The Wee Lass and I had just completed some book shopping on an overcast day where we didn’t much feel like running around outside. I had asked her if she wanted to eat at the “beansandcheeseandricestore” (Chipotle) or the “lettuceandtomatostore” (Jimmy John’s), and being my daughter she wanted the sandwich. So off we went after successfully procuring some fine reading material for ourselves.

I finally noticed after sitting down that a string of Michael Jackson tributes was on the shop radio, “Bad” blaring from the speakers. Flashbacks to my high school years and Weird Al Yankovic videos in my head, I look over to see Wee Lass is bopping and shaking in her seat, grinning like a possum. I say to her:

“This song came out when Daddy was a boy.”
“What’s it called?”
“It’s called ‘Bad’, by someone named Michael Jackson.”
Bad? Daddy, you should never be bad, you should be good.”
“I know, sweetie, I’m not bad, the song is called Bad.”

“Want to hear something funny?”
“Tell me, daddy, tell me!”
“I used to dance to that song, a long time ago.”

Incredulity lights up her face. Surely there are pigs flying and ice cream falling from the skies above.

“Dance, daddy?”
“Yes, I did. When I was a boy, I and my friends danced to this and a lot of other songs, too.”

She smiles, a spotlight shining on me with cherubic radiance.

“Daddy, would you dance for me? I promise I won’t laugh.”

Ah, if only all those girls in high school had said the same thing to me…I laughed out loud.

“…uh, no, sweetie, I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Why not? Please, please, pleeeeeeease?”

I was trying to come up with a good explanation. The fact that I really can’t dance, at least not in any organized manner, would have been lost on her. Wee Lass knows that daddy occasionally “shakes his moneymaker”, but that’s a far cry from “dancing”.

“It’s too busy in here, and there isn’t enough room…I don’t want to hit anybody.”

That last part alone should convince you of my so-called dancing skills.

“But, daddy, I want to see!”
“Maybe in bit, sweetie.”

The next song came on, more Michael Jackson. I recognized the tune, but could not recall the title. I told Wee Lass it was another Michael Jackson song.

“Daddy, what’s it called?”
“I don’t remember, sweet pea.”
“Is it called Good?”


“What’s so funny, daddy, why did you laugh?”
“It’s not called Good, dear. I just can’t remember the name.”
“Did you dance to it, too?”

Oh dear lord, she isn’t letting that one go.

“Yes, I did.”
“Dance, daddy, dance!”

So that is how it came to be, on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, I found myself holding hands with a beautiful girl, seat dancing in a sandwich joint and thinking myself a lucky fellow indeed. She was laughing and giggling and looking at me with those eyes of azure opal and I melted. Somewhere, sometime, on another dance floor a lucky fellow would be gazing into her eyes grown older and more beautiful.

I swallowed the lump of jealousy in my throat, knowing that fellow would not be me, but so happy that it was me that had the first dance with her.


  1. that was a delightful post.

    Enjoy the day, Irish, enjoy the day.

  2. Sniff.

    Captured the moment perfectly, IG.

  3. I am so dreading those days.

    And you should always dance when your kid asks....not matter what or where you are.

  4. That is a precious moment. I think the whole experience of dancing with your daughter far outweighs the embarrassment of flailing in public.

  5. Daddy's and their little girls slay me, and so did your story.

  6. Now you've gone and made a pregnant woman cry... but they're good tears. So beautiful!

  7. Why do you want to make me cry Gumbo? Just remember no matter who she dances with, you are not only her first dance but also the first man she fell in love with.

    There...I paid you back... :)

  8. I miss my girl being little, but love the lady she has become. She turned 20 yesterday.

  9. That was just priceless! Adorable!

  10. Nice post. Someday I'm gonna embarass myself in public to appease my daughter too, aren't I?

  11. You mean you didn't stand on the table with her and boogie down? Because I would have paid to see THAT! ; )

  12. brilliant!! Next time, get UP and dance with her, you crazy fool....in a few years she won't want to be seen dancing next to you!! Lovely lovely story and a nice tribute to the king of pop, the way he OUGHT to be rememebered - he made us DANCE!!!

  13. dammmmnnnnnn you just made me cry

  14. You missed out the part when you moonwalked out the shop and all the way down the street.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

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