Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Runs in the Family

A snippet of a perfectly ordinary conversation around the dinner table at my folks' home--

Cayleen [my youngest sister]: then Emily [our eight year old niece] and I were jamming out to Michael Jackson so hard that Dad yelled at us to turn it down.

Me:  I just don't get why you are still so obsessed with Michael Jackson, Cayleen. [She didn't even know M.J. existed prior to his death and has since developed a single-minded interest in him to which only a tween could so thoroughly devote herself.]  Most kids your age would crack under the strain of the people around them's disapproval. But not you!  You still think he is the greatest.

Cayleen:  Not just me.  I've convinced Emily and Esme [our nine year old cousin], too!  We are going to bring Michael Jackson back! [Back from the dead, she means.]  And then HE is going to bring JESUS back!! 

*My other sister, Julia [age 14], and my youngest brother, Timmy [age 23], and I exchange brief scoffing glances*

Timmy:  How is Michael Jackson going to bring Jesus back from the dead?

*Julia and I burst out laughing at Tim; Cayleen laughs at her own absurdity, but remains defiant*

*Julia moves from the sink to behind the chair where Cayleen is sitting and rests her hands on the chair back*

Julia [speedily chanting in an unsettling, low voice]Jesus "ascended-into-Heaven-sits-at-the-right-hand-of-God-the-Father-almighty. From-there-He-shall-come-to-judge-the-living-and-the-dead."

*Julia collapses into giggles at seeing Tim's and my quasi-perplexed faces*

Me:  Tim, you were raised Catholic!  Why do you find Michael Jackson arising from the dead perfectly plausible, but not Jesus?  Julia, how did the Lutherans brainwash you so completely? And Cayleen, when did your fixation on MJ become less scary than Julia's Christian upbringing??

*Everyone laughs and begins talking at once*

Shortly after the above scene, Julia casually attempts to bake Cayleen's purportedly evil doll in the oven, as Cayleen pantomimes the doll singing, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so."