Last night Chris, Silvia, The First Lady of Horror Nerdery–Rachel and myself attended a Halloween event that, due to conflicts of interests, must go unnamed. We watched a live tribute performance to several classic scenes and musical numbers from an absolute Cult favorite of mine—The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
It was amazing.
The actors did a fantastic job and they did the singing themselves—all could carry a tune. However, the best part of the show was looking around the audience and spotting all of the folks (most with younger kids) that you just knew had no fucking clue what Rocky Horror was, nor what they were getting themselves into. One particular family sat right behind us and I would lay a fair bet that they drove to the event that night in a mini-van with those cute little stick-people family stickers on their back window, if that helps you visualize the type of people I’m talking about. Anyway, I thought I heard one of the kids ask “Mommy, what’s this about?” to which June Cleaver replied, “I’m not sure, Beaver, but I don’t think it will be TOO scary…” I glanced down the row and met eyes with Silvia, who was grinning ear to ear.
“Oh man, “ she said. “This is gonna be good…..”
The show commenced, and the cast sang the first couple of numbers. The Norman Rockwell family behind us did OK at first. Mostly they were just confused with the story and couldn’t figure out why or how in the hell I knew the words to every song being sung, or why many of us in the audience were yelling random shit at the stage, seemingly acting like total assholes. Then came my favorite song in the whole show, Sweet Transvestite. A 6’4’’ Frankfurter came prancing down the stairs in black panties, thigh highs and corset and that’s when I heard “Mom” say, “Ummm…….oh my God…”
Silvia was right, this was gonna be good…..
The family managed to make it all the way until Janet kicked into “Toucha-Toucha-Touch Me (I wanna be diiiiiirty…)” and that’s when the Cleavers reached their limit. I turned as they packed up the kids, who were wide-eyed and grinning devilishly, and marched out of the outdoor amphitheater. The show ended and those of us that “got it” gave the performers a standing ovation.
I was suddenly sad that my parents weren’t with me.
They never drove a mini-van with stick people on the window. My Mom never wore a fanny-pack to a theme park. My dad never wore running shoes with shorts and knee socks (he’s more of a free spirit, flip-flop Jimmy Buffett kind of guy). Most importantly, they never jerked my ass out of a show, live or otherwise, just because they didn’t want to expose me to that sort of “filthy and deplorable entertainment.”
What they did do was introduce me to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now it’s a family tradition for Christ’s sake. I told Chris last night that half of the attendees at my Sister’s wedding last November flooded the dance floor to do the Time Warp together, and nobody missed a beat.
Apparently that’s rarer than I once thought, and something I’ve realized I’ve taken for granted.
After exiting the theater myself, I sent the following text to my Mom:
“Just got out of Rocky Horror. Want to say thanks to you and dad for letting me be a fucking weirdo growing up. Love you both.”
Mom–never one to miss a beat, or scold me for using “fucking” in a text–sent the following reply:
”It is, after all, just a jump to the left…love you all too!”
That’s when I realized that I have badass parents.
One of my earliest memories is of watching Halloween II on HBO with my mom. We shared microwave popcorn.
I read my first Stephen King book when I was twelve. It was a first edition of Christine. Guess who “loaned” it to me?
Dad got the tougher gigs, like the dreaded “sex talk.” It went like this, “Son, you’re at the age where you might be thinking about having sex, and it’s important that you always carry something with you.” Then he opened up his clenched fist and can you guess what was in it?
Breath mints. He knew I was up to speed on safe sex, and we had an open enough relationship that Mom and Dad both knew I was aware of the consequences should I “do something stupid.”
They didn’t let me run completely wild, and we had our fair shares of arguments over curfews and sleepovers “where there would be absolutely NO underage drinking, I swear.” But they didn’t shelter me to a point where I would have gone into culture shock upon leaving the nest. Because that’s what happens, you know. The wild asses in college are always the kids that were kept on such a tight leash at home that they’re drinking, smoking and screwing their way into County once a month. I never had to worry about that.
I don’t know what the point of this post is. I just felt a strong urge to write it when I got up this morning.
I guess I just want to say “thanks” to my Mom and Dad.
Thanks for not being assholes.
Thanks for having an open mind.
Thanks for letting me be a little weird.
Thanks for letting me make some mistakes here and there and learn from them, because that’s life.
And life, after all, really IS just a jump to the left (and a step to the right….)