Thursday, June 17, 2010

...Fans Belong in the Front Row...

What's wrong with this picture?

I’ll give you a hint.

When I was four and my sister was ten, my mom took us to the Michigan State Fair. We went every year, but this year in particular stands out in my mind for one reason in particular: Smokey Robinson.

Every year for about ten days the “giant shell” would hosts at least one musical act per night, and on this very starry night in Detroit, the performer was Smokey, a long time favorite of my mom’s.

We rode rides, ate Italian sausage and cotton candy, played games, visited the petting zoo, and voted by round of applause in the “Husband-calling” contest (as opposed to the “pig-calling,” but they’re really wasn’t much difference between the two-haha.)

Late in the day, we rested in the shade of the covered bleachers of the pavillion. Or at least I thought we were resting. I realize now that we were actually waiting for the show to start. We were early. So early, that there was probably less than 100 people hanging around. The next thing I remember was being awakened and escorted at a very high speed toward the front of the stage. Mom had flipped into fan mode and she had an agenda.

I never knew before that moment that my mother could move that fast (although this would be reconfirmed many times in my life including the time I was approached by a stranger at a music store, the time I almost missed my flight, and the time I was some place I wasn’t supposed to be and was dumb enough to think I could outrun her. That didn’t go well.)

I watched for probably close to an hour while my mom and other grown women screamed their heads off, leaned over the security rails and reached for Smokey’s hand. God or someone was watching over that man when my mom caught his arm because she nearly took him off the stage.

She applied her super-grip and I swear another minute and she would have used Smokey’s arm as a rope and climbed the stage to glory. Other nearby ladies tried to pounce but my mom activated her patented elbow deflection move and kept them at bay. I don’t remember how he broke free, but I do remember the excitement of my mom and those around her over this momentous accomplishment: a fan had made contact!

This is true “fandom” in all its joy and revelry. It’s the proper way to thank the artist for making a positive impact on your life:

You lose your mind upon seeing them, disregard personal safety and potential jail time, and make every effort to get as close as you can and touch the magic.

So now what’s wrong with the picture?

Look at Pharrell’s feet and how close he is to the edge of the stage. Look at the muscles in his arms and his wide-stretched fingers.

Now look at the chick he’s risking life and limb to reach for: she’s one row from the front and just standing there. Her back is straight and her legs aren’t even touching the seat in front of her.

The hell?

I’m guessing from her face that she was paralyzed with ecstasy and not thinking about the fact that she was millimeters away from a momentous accomplishment. (Contact!) But come on, girl, move it!!

The only thing more annoying than her standing there is the “fan” behind her. She seems enthusiastic but she’s just standing there, too. She almost appears to be staring over Pharrell’s head at something else. Still, she had a stairway to heaven and opted not to ascend. All she had to do was step on the back of the slow girl and used her as a springboard to the stage.

That’s what I would have done. Because I am my mother’s child, and my mama didn’t raise no fool.

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