THANK YOU FOR MY KIDS, MICHAEL JACKSON!

by Steve Clem on October 17, 2011

I have Michael Jackson to thank for my wonderful boys.

Wait, what?

Yes, I understand that statement seems quite odd, and ironic.

But it’s true!

How do I owe Michael Jackson for my two amazing sons?

Really, it’s quite logical when you think about it.

Oh and don’t make it simple just because it’s logical. If you’re guessing right now that I met the boys’ mother at a Michael Jackson concert, that’s not it.

Here’s the explanation:

1. Because of Michael Jackson’s live performance of Billie Jean on the Motown 25 TV special, where he moonwalked across the stage for all of 10 feet, I became addicted to breakdancing. In fact during my freshman year in high school, my friends and I ended up making good money teaching lessons and doing performances around Sioux City. If you know my breakdancing name, then you know me well, fyi.

2. Because of my obsession with breakdancing and hip hop in general, I became hooked on a song called “Rock It” by Herbie Hancock. Hear the song here. In fact, one day my mom came into my room and heard the song playing, and asked me what this noise was. I told her “Herbie Hancock.” She dropped her jaw. “Herbie Hancock? I went to college with him.” Ok, my mom suddenly seemed cool.

3. With new found information regarding my mom’s coolness in knowing Herbie Hancock, I decided that I would indeed enjoy attending my mom’s college reunion. I was totally going to get Herbie to autograph my extended play single LP of “Rock It.” So off we went to some weird place called Cornell College or something. It was in the middle of nowhere I heard.

4. It was in fact Grinnell College. Herbie didn’t show at the reunion. It didn’t matter. I fell in love with the place the minute I saw it. Beautiful buildings sprawled across a small, but open campus. I toured the campus, and saw the swimming pool. I instantly knew I wanted to swim at this school, if I was lucky enough to ever get to attend it.

5. Fast forward 3 years and it was time for me to choose between a full scholarship to swim at Creighton University in Omaha, NE, or pay my own way to go to Grinnell College. I ended up choosing Grinnell because I just had a real pull to the place. And I’m so glad, because I spent four of the best years of my life there.

6. And in the spring of my freshman year at Grinnell, I met my now ex-wife, and the mother of my amazing children. My relationship with her was never perfect, and I have no regrets whatsoever that it’s over. Mostly because that relationship gave me the two most important things in my life.

So, Michael, I want to thank you for helping bring Gman and Nile the Crocodile into my life. Oh and also I really did love Off the Wall.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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