Conversation last Thursday:
Me: My sister just texted to say that Beck has a preschool Christmas pageant at school on Tuesday.
Me: I’m not forcing you to go or anything, but he’d probably really like it if you were there.
Graham: I guess I could do that.
Me: Thank you.
Graham: I’m getting laid after it, right?
If you haven’t been reading for the past few years (or just aren’t very perceptive), Beck is my nephew. He turns 4 tomorrow. I used to call him Dude or The Kid, and I still do to his face unless he’s in trouble. I guess I started with the names because back then, he wasn’t really a person to me. He was this fat blob of baby who couldn’t have a conversation or make himself a sandwich when he got hungry. Then he grew up some, and now he’s a 45-pound sassmouth who had a Christmas pageant last night.
I won’t be the one to make everyone comatose with kid stories, BUT I am telling this one because a) it was both sweet and disturbing to see how much like me Beck has become and I didn’t even give birth to him, and b) it’s totally fucking metal.
We met my sister and Beck’s dad at the church (oh right, he goes to a Catholic preschool, which explains why one of the songs they sang was called “J-E-S-U-S”). Beck’s dad explained that Beck was not especially excited to be there, and that he’d rather be home playing video games. Well, yeah. This from the kid who spent 20 minutes telling me about the differences between Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the Indiana Jones Lego game for the whatever-game-console-I-don’t-know-about. Anyway, Beck was not enthusiastic about taking part in the Christmas pageant. Just like I was(n’t?) at his age. I’ve never been much of a joiner. Sports were acceptable because I could just run until my heart exploded, but being part of a groupthink experiment was never my thing. Beck wasn’t interested, either, so I was kind of surprised when I saw him in the procession with the other kids. He was actually wearing his gold garland halo instead of ripping it off his head, and when he saw us in the pews, he only paused for a second instead of throwing a massive fucking fit about having to take part in this nonsense.
Probably because he didn’t. Take part, I mean. He stood up there and all, but he didn’t sing, didn’t dance, and didn’t really look excited about the prospect of finishing this damn thing so he could go have some cookies with his friends. He looked bored. He fiddled with his sleeves a lot and scratched at the itchy halo, and was somehow completely unfazed by the rest of his classmates, a few of whom were clearly on Hannah Montana-brand crack cocaine. The girls especially. Jesus christ, and this is the generation that won’t know a time without webcams and smartphones.
(I should point out that while Beck was disinterested and anti-participatory, he was not the worst kid up there. The worst kid was front-and-center and spent the entire 20-minute program twirling around in circles with a finger jammed up his nose. He looked thrilled as shit to be up there, but I didn’t see his parents rush to greet him when it was over.)
The only part Beck seemed to enjoy was the jingle bells. At one point, the teachers passed out jingle bells to each kid. Beck took his very politely and waited for the music to start. Once it did, he moved a couple of steps aside and started. To. THRASH.
And I mean he fucking thrashed. He was a slightly more developed center of gravity away from headbanging. At a Christmas pageant. He was rocking out with that jingle bell so intensely that Graham leaned forward and exclaimed, “Bell solo!”
And of course I was proud that I knew the most metal kid there, or at least that I didn’t know the nose picker weirdo.