I forget exactly how it happened. It’s not like the Moonwalk comes up in my everyday conversation, you know? But somehow on Saturday, I dropped the word into a sentence. (Maybe it was “I’m going to Moonwalk over to the fridge and eat some more fudge.”) And as soon as TRC heard the word, he had to know what it meant, which makes sense. It has the word “moon” in it, and he loves space, so . . .
I ended up showing them this clip from 1983, where Michael Jackson first introduced the move.
It takes a while to get to it at last–a lot of Jacksonesque dancing ahead of time. And that left tons of time for my kids to ask questions. (Because DC didn’t want to be left out of the viewing experience.) They were more than a little skeptical at first, and why wouldn’t they be? There’s a grown man dressed in a sequined suit and one sequined glove and sequined socks and pants that were too short, gyrating across the stage. Some of the questions asked in that first bit: “Is that a boy or a girl?” “What’s wrong with him?” “Where did his other glove go?” And basic observations: “He twitches a lot.” “He spins a lot.”
Denisa and I tried to defend our taste in “coolness” from when we were kids. I mean, when I was a kid in the eighties, there was no doubt in my mind that Michael Jackson was awesome. Why? He just was. One glove? Awesome. Sequins? Awesome. It was strange looking at something that had happened so long ago (30 years now!) and viewing it through the eyes of my children.
For the first long while, it looked like the slice of pop culture was going to end in defeat, with my children concluding yet again that I had no idea what in the world “cool” was. My one last hope was that the thing that started this all–the Moonwalk–would save me. Because if there was one dance step I ever wished I could do well in my entire life, it was that. When I was a kid, the Moonwalk was about as awesome as you could get.
And so I kept telling TRC and DC to just wait. Keep watching. And they were full of doubt and skepticism.
Until we got to 3:37 in the clip.
“Whoa!” they said in unison. “Show that again!” And again. And again.
Because while missing gloves and sequins and gyrations might go out of style, some things remain the same: the Moonwalk is just a darned cool move to watch. Period. Don’t believe me? Why don’t you ask Bill Bailey and his audience back in the 1950s?
Jump to the 2:01 mark to see what I’m talking about. And according to the never-wrong-Wikipedia, the move dates back as far as Cab Calloway and the 1930s. There’s your bit of trivia and awesome all rolled into one for the day.