Telluride Daily Planet, Saturday, November 12, 2011
Father: Welcome back, my child. And it’s 36, actually. But who’s counting?
MCW: Oh. Well, [sound of fidgeting] where to start, right? Disrespectful thoughts about my parents when they were still alive? Passive aggressive behaviors? Vanity, pride? Stealing grapes from the grocery store — and even a kumquat once. And some yogurt pretzels from the bulk bins and a cookie in 1982 from a box of Entemann’s. Then there’s the prevaricating. And cursing so many times I can’t really guestimate. [pauses] Because back in the ‘80s —
Father: The ‘80s were bad … let’s not start breaking it down into time periods, however.
MCW: Oh. Then, uh — not necessarily recently or in any order — I’ve smoked, drunk, was wanton and threw myself at men, was envious of others, was disrespectful to myself, I listened to a lot of hip-hop, spoke words of ill-will and held rancor in my heart. Also gluttony.
Father: [sighs] You need to watch the passive aggression and the rancor especially. But what was that fourth-to-the-last thing you said?
MCW: That thing about … hip-hop?
Father: Yes. That. Is that recent?
MCW: Well. Pretty recent. Like on the way here. [starts swaying and singing “She was buzzing all over me…”]
Father: A woman of your age?
MCW: [bows head] However unnatural and wrong I know it is, I just keep listening, singing, dancing and downloading. Then the inevitable shame. And then scorn for the genre. In public, I pretend I don’t even know the songs.
Father: Scorn is not a good thing. Ever. [pauses] When did this start?
MCW: [taps fingers in dark confessional] Hm. Sixth grade. Mrs. Lee’s music class. We were dancing to Michael Jackson’s “A B C” when James Woods — the tallest boy in the class — said I was officially a soul sister. Michael Jackson was exactly our age.
Father: They found that doctor guilty of manslaughter, you know. Go on.
MCW: Then I guess there was no stopping the rest of Motown. Especially Marvin Gaye. I must have listened to that “I Want You” album five thousand times.
Father: Thinking impure thoughts all the while?
MCW: Dude. I mean, Father: I was 15 and in Catholic girls school. Most of my thoughts were impure. Repression does that, you know.
Father: No comment.
MCW: It’s just … I never had much interest in so-called white music. When my brother Eric told me his band was on the radio and it was called Cream, I believed him because I was 9 and had no idea who they were.
Father: [snorts] That was Eric Clapton. A soul frater in his own right.
MCW: Yeah, well. My husband used to say I missed the ‘70s entirely. I never even knew who the Grateful Dead were until I saw them here in 1987. I’d been listening to Parliament Funkadelic and Prince.
Father: [speaking low] Shakin’ your groove thang?
MCW: [ignoring him] Even after Tupac when it all sort of devolved for me into that contagious hip-pop. The T-Pains, and Jay-Zs and DJ Khaleds and Kid Cudis and Beyonces and Rihannas and Nicky Minajs of the world. Music that makes me feel so good I know it has to be bad.
Father: Now I know you’re a Catholic! [mumbles in Latin] But. Not to say this isn’t inappropriate for someone in her mid-fif—
MCW: [interrupting] I know this, OK?! How do you think it feels to find myself singing “Shawty’s like a melody in my head/ That I can’t keep out, got me singing like/ Na na na na everyday/Got my iPod stuck on replay, replay.” Or “I’m so 3000 and 8, you so 2000 and late. I got that boom boom boom, that future boom boom boom.” Not to mention all the “unh”s and “yeeeuh”s, which, if I’m not careful are going to come out of my mouth at work one day.
Father: [sighs] Altar boys listen to that stuff, not their mothers—
MCW: What do I do?
Father: You need remedial 1970s. Revisit the Allman Brothers and the Dead. Cool down your blood. In fact a little bloodletting might not be a bad idea.
MCW: [stunned into silence]
Father: Just kidding! I guess just this once I’m going to tell you something I don’t want you to repeat. You never heard it and this never happened, OK? As in, off the record.
MCW: [leaning in] OK. What is it?
Father: If it feels good, do it, my child. For all the other stuff, say 50 Hail Mary’s — not the Tupac song but the prayer — and sin no more.
Father: In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Go in peace, Shawty.