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5:53 a.m. - 2006-01-03

KIDS

Sorry. I needed a break. There's lots of bad health issues in the family right now that took priority over this little dog and pony show.

Now then ...


DJ'ed a party for a 13 year-old's birthday a few weeks ago.

Everything was going as smooth as possible considering it was a 13 year-old's birthday party.

I've learned a few things about DJ'ing for birthday parties for kids.

There's not ONE SINGLE SONG that 13 year-olds will dance to all the way through.

They'll dance like crazy when they hear the first few chords of a song.

They'll dance through the first chorus.

After that, they'll gather in small circles on the dance floor and talk trash about kids that aren't at the party.

The girls will do cartwheels or back flips.

And as soon as the next song starts, they'll dance like crazy for the first minute and then go back to cartwheels and shit-stirring for the next 3-4 minutes.

I had to explain this phenomenon to the parents of the birthday girl ... the kids are there to socialize and I'm there to punctuate their socialization with random bursts of shitty songs that anyone over the age of 20 wouldn't dare listen to in public.

Yeah.

So anyway ... the kids are having a decent time and I'm playing some slow song so they can bump and grind in front of the horrified parents.

A kid comes up to me while I'm talking to the birthday girl's Mom.

"Can you play 'Dance With My Father' by Luther Vandross?" he asks.

Huh??

I mean ... I've got the song.

But that's got to be the weirdest request of the night.

Thirteen year-old white kids have no business even knowing who Luther Vandross is.

Visibly stunned, I told the kid I'd play it next.

Which I did.

A few couples stayed on the floor to dance to it.

The birthday girl's Mom walked away.

About a minute into the song, a little girl came up to me.

"Can you PLEASE take that song off and play something else?"

Ah.

The kid had no idea who Luther was, had never heard the song, and wanted to hear Ashlee Simpson's latest pop ballad instead.

Well sorry, kid. Since it was a request, I had to continue playing it for the kid who wanted to hear it.

"It's almost over," I lied.

"No," the girl said. "Please take it off NOW."

Hmmmm.

I've got me a bossy little twerp dictating what I play and what I don't play. I don't see this at kids' parties much.

Immediately, I'm swarmed by about five other girls.

"Please take that song off! Please take that song off!" they're all begging me.

Never in my 20 year on-again off-again history of doing this has a song been so universally hated by the people at a party.

I start explaining that I'm playing this song for a young man who requested it when one girl's voice rises above all the others.

"Put something else on NOW!" she yells. "That girl's dad just died last month!"

I look over and there's a girl sobbing in a chair by the wall as her friends surround and comfort her.

Oh.

Color me Mr. Insensitive.

Apparently the boy who requested it either did it as a cruel joke or as a poorly judged attempt at making the girl feel poignant about the recent loss of her father.

While most of the kids there saw it as a cruel joke, I like to think the latter was the case in this situation.

Still.

That one song killed the party quicker than Granny getting drunk and doing a strip tease for everyone in attendance.

I never really regained control of the party from that point on.

The girl kept crying which kept all my cartwheeling kiddies glued to her side.

I felt like complete crap for being the most visible accomplice to making the girl bawl since I couldn't really finger the kid who made the request.

("Let's seeee ... he had a ball cap on and dark hair ... just like every other kid with a penis in the room.")

I know one thing.

The next time I play a kid's birthday party and someone requests a song about being allowed one more dance with their recently deceased father ... it's going to send up a red flag in the ol' noggin.



The other night Susie and I were hunched over our respective Sudoku books while Andrew was playing with his big new train table that Santa brought him.

He was having difficulty getting the tracks to stay together but wanted to do it on his own.

At one point, as he ran his trains over a bridge, the bridge collapsed onto the table.

"Dammit!" Andrew said.

Susie and I both looked up and stared at each other.

She shrugged her shoulders silently which meant "I have no idea where he heard that".

I'm sure he's heard it on "Family Guy" which is about the only show he and I can watch together where I don't feel like scraping my brains out with a rusty fork via my nostrils.

Still ... it was my job to nip this kinda talk in the bud since he goes to a daycare inside a local church and the last thing I want is to be called into the daycare director's office to discuss my kid's potty mouth.

"Andrew," I said. "We don't say that word. That's a bad word. So don't say it ... okay?"

Andrew looked at me with those big brown eyes and understood every word I had just said.

"Okay Daddy. I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Just don't say that word anymore."

We go back to our Sudoku.

Andrew goes back to playing trains.

Thirty seconds later, another bridge collapses onto his table.

"GODdammit!" Andrew cries.

I mean ... what do you do?

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