I have this story that I think about at least once a year, and yet I never really told anyone about it. I always just think about it, giggle, and continue on my merry way.
This is the story.
So back in Middle School, there was the annual talent show. I am sure this is not uncommon in most public Middle Schools. It was an event that had the sole purpose of letting kids get out class for an hour while they watched their peers embarrassed themselves. This does not apply to the popular kids who will get applauded even if they were failing to masturbate.
I surprisingly remembered a lot of the acts of these talent shows. I remember a girl I hated did nothing but cartwheels for five minutes. A girl who sang Halo by Beyoncé while swinging her arms in the air, in an attempt to coerce the audience to do the same, during every chorus, and I mean EVERY chorus. A guy who parodied Souja Boy with Bacon Boy. A short Latino and a tall black guy hip hop dancing which ends with them throwing their hats to the crowd. Of course, they asked for their hats back.
This is just to name a few to illustrate the brilliant talent oozing out of Smylie Wilson Middle School from 2007 to 2009.
Anyway, I am sitting there in the middle of the auditorium. I don't remember if I was analyzing the auditorium's architecture, daydreaming, or something, but I was at least sitting there. Then they announced this next kid, and he comes out. He was a skinny white kid. He would look like a fourth grader if his pained face caused by Middle School trauma wasn't etched on his face. He stood stilted on the center stage, and the music began to play.
Now at the time, I wasn't too familiar with Michael Jackson, so I paid no mind to his single glove and his Smooth Criminal get up.
I wasn't until the music started to kick in that I noticed what he was trying to do. And I noticed, with a gaping mouth so wide my soul could crawl out.
This kid was performing a Michael Jackson song, not just singing or dancing, but performing. Yes, he did both, and it was awful.
Part of it was stage fright. There was absolute terror in his eyes as he tried to sing some Michael Jackson, while doing, to my knowledge, only two dance moves (it was a spin and a pose).
I frankly don’t even remember if he finished the act or ran out in embarrassment. All I could take from the performance was pure secondhand embarrassment and the assurance that at least I wasn’t the only one suffering through the worst Middle School has to offer.
But the story isn't over.
No the reason I remember this performance so well was this black kid sitting a few rows down from me watching the same thing I was. As the poor kid left the stage, the black kid turned to his friends behind him where I could see his depressed face. Without one shred of hesitation, he dispiritedly said "I hate white people."
I honestly don't know what to get from this story. It personally cracks me up every time I think about it for how surreal that whole experience was. I just needed to archive this story in some fashion, and so here I am. I guess I think about it on occasion because despite every horrible thing my anxiety makes me remember, it cannot convince me that any of those things are worse than trying to perform Michael Jackson in a Middle School talent show.