This morning, while dropping Mason off at the same elementary school I myself attended over two decades ago, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” came on the radio. As Susan walked Mason up to the school’s front door, I turned up the radio, listened, and smiled.
On December 2nd of 1983, when I was in fifth grade, MTV debuted the fifteen minute long Thriller music video. Thriller (the album) was number one on the charts at that time, and the debut of the music video was promoted by MTV was a worldwide event. My dad had our television wired through our home stereo (yes, I come by it honestly), and so not only did I record the broadcast on VHS videotape (which I still have a copy of), but I also made an audio recording of the long-form version of the song as well.
The next morning I brought my ghettoblaster (what we called boom boxes back then) with me to school. While sitting with my friends on the back of the bus, I unleashed “the evil of the Thriller” (as Vincent Price says in the song) at full blast to the entire bus. Everyone loved it, and for about a week I was very popular. Unfortunately, after a few days of cranking Thriller every morning on the bus, several times every day during recess, and every afternoon on the bus ride home, my ghettoblaster’s eight monstrous D-Cell batteries died, quickly ending that tradition. But, at least for a week, my friends and I had a good time.
This morning while the song played through my car stereo I stared out the window at the exact spot on the playground where my elementary schoolmates and I used to sit around listening to the exact same song …