My four year old daughter has a rather eclectic taste in music. I'd say she gets it from me, and perhaps in its inception it may have very well been my direct thumbprint on that ear of hers. But I'm pretty sure it's YouTube now that's guiding her selections now (I guess I can take credit for having cultivated the odd search history that would generate the selections), and it's certainly odd.
Her most recent musical obsession happens to be Cher; a thankful change of pace, given her previous favorite was the Insane Clown Posse. She had an original favorite, perhaps Cher's greatest ditty ("Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves"), but has since moved on to easily her number two (on my mine, anyways; but certainly rounding out any Cherite's Top Five), "Half Breed".
(In case you haven't ever given this tune a listen, or it's been a hot minute, why not settle in and give it a tumble. It'll help understand what's coming if you know the lay of the land...).
If I Could Turn Back Time...
So it's a Friday, and P-Nut and I are driving home. We're in my work van, windows down with the music just screaming. We were getting off "Under the Sea" and the shuffle kicks over to the next ditty.
Her crystal eyes grow big with impish glee, the thundering beat of native drums pounding before the disco heavy strings and backbeat start spinning.
We start belting out the words, near screaming as we compete with the speakers and one another, my words floundering as I struggle to not giggle as she really feels the groove; losing herself to car seat dance. Cher gets to that first chorus as I roll to a fresh red light; and the three of us are just at the top of our lungs.
"Halfbreed! That's all I ever heard! Half breed!..."
As I'm singing I hear someone saying excuse me.
I'm usually singing like an ass in traffic, so having gotten someone's attention for acting like a fool in his bedroom isn't all that surprising a phenomenon.
But they are usually not this irritated.
"I said excuse me." I hear again. It's a woman's voice.
I turn, truthfully half ready to hear some wretch lecture me for inadvertently cutting her off or something. I see it's a woman, as I had thought, sitting in the passenger seat trying to get my attention. She had caramel skin and a irked look on her pretty face.
"Yes?" I reply, turning down the volume a little.
"What was it you were just calling me?" She asked. Her tone was serious and annoyed. Quickly I rush past the lyrics I had sung, wondering if there was anything that could have been misinterpreted as a crude cat call. I was drawing a blank.
"Nothing, ma'am... Was singing with the kid."
"Singing, huh... Just happened to pull next to a light skinned black lady and just happened to scream out "half breed" as you did? You just happened to do that?" She questioned, our light cycle nearing its end.
"Yes, I swear. It's a Cher song called "Half Breed". It about her being half Indian..." I said,Mylar chuckling at th absurdity of it all.
"Sure motherfucker," she said, light turning green as she did.
"Hope Donald Trump win and kicks your spic ass back to Mexico!" She called out, flipping me off as her friend's late model Focus speeds off through the intersection.
"Who was that, daddy," my daughter asks, still a bit confused why the dance party had been cut short.
"Was it a friend?"
"No P-Nut," I say, continuing my drive home.
"Just an angry lady."
"Well, maybe if we put on Taylor, she'll be happy and we can have dance party." She reasoned, certain Taylor Swift would be above any and all protest.
And she was right, no one else bothering us during the remainder of our ride. Got a few looks, the pair of us bopping to "Shake it off" like some tent revival attendants, but no kore angry confrontations to speak of.
I contemplated getting pissy over the whole exchange for a second, doing my best to deny myself those infectious beats of that angelically voiced, blonde 2x4. And that feeling did subside as I relented to the groove.
I chalked it up to just another instance of a haters that's gonna hate, hate, hate; the woman so wrapped up in her own personal grudges and issues that she couldn't see perhaps that I wasn't being malicious to her. That perhaps I was just singing an old song with my daughter that- had she not been so busy defending her "trigger free zone", she might have listened to and perhaps identified with to some degree or another (I'm assuming that, given her light skin tone and facial features, that the offended party was perhaps a mulatto [or oft confused for one], and had had her fill of being called "half breed" and "mud blood" after a while).
And it made me a little sad for her, my day taking a little less than a city block to get back on track all the while knowing that her's had been no doubt ruined; knowing the sting of thinking someone was calling you a slur for the fuck of it can stick in your craw like molasses for hours. If there's one curse to our current society of narcissistic self devotion, it would have to be worship placed towards victimization; whole pockets of our society seemingly craving to find proof for the mistreatment and horrors they believe they feel in day to day existence. Given what all had happened, it's easy to tell that girl was seeking to find bigots, somehow finding hate in the sweet dulcet tones of Cher. An it would be easy to write her off as some sour faced cunt.
But instead I felt pity for her. Such a curse to be held so hostage to the innocuous words of strangers... Must be tough living in a world with so many boogie men.,.