Lucky Star

It’s today. I’m up in my oldest son’s bedroom. The boys are home for the day. School cancelled, due to the weather. It’s really not that bad out, but whatever. Get to spend some quality time with the boys.

We’re playing Nerf basketball. I’m sitting on the edge of the bed, shooting, my son tries to block. I can get a couple by him, but he’s catching on. I do the fake, but he’s getting privy to the fake/shoot. Gotta take him off guard.

This game, I used to play when I was a kid. I used to play it in the apartment hallway where I lived. You come up with these rules. The ball has to hit here. It’s fun.

My youngest son Henry turns on the radio. Oh great. We have to listen to some crappy radio. I’m not a big fan. Most of it’s crap, let’s be honest. And there’s always a ton of commercials. But right after he turns it on, the DJ announces that they’re going to be commercial free for the next hour, so that’s cool. First song that plays is Jack and Diane. Oh hell yeah. A classic. Who doesn’t know the opening lyrics to that song? Here’s a little ditty, about Jack and Diane. Two American kids growing up in the Heartland. That’s where I grew up. The Midwest. The Heartland. And damn proud of it.

I don’t know why I’m proud of it, per se. That just fits in good with the sentence.

After Jack and Diane, the DJ plays Lucky Star by Madonna. We take a break from the basketball game, Liam leaves the room, Henry is on the bed with me, we wrestle, tickle fight. I’m listening to Madonna, and I start imagining her back in the day. Wouldn’t it have been cool to see her when she was just starting out? I start listening to the song more closely, then try to imagine her playing at the Vaudeville Mews. First thing I think of is, this song is really cheesy. It is! It’s a classic, but if you step back a few, and listen to it with fresh ears, the music is really cheesy. I bet if Madonna played this song now at the Mews, and she wasn’t Madonna, people would think that she was cheesy. But let’s step back even further. What does she have? Well, it’s a pop song, of course it is. It’s catchy, and it impels you to sing along. That’s what a pop song does. It FORCES YOU to sing along. It gets caught up in your brain somehow. They have experts that can explain how this works better than me.

I imagine her on stage, and I think it would be amazing. She’s so bold and sexy. It’s the way she sings the words, draws them out. It’s cheesy, yet it’s so cool. You can see this girl on a leather couch at 3AM in some high-rise apartment in Manhattan smoking a cigarette with a bag of coke on the coffee table in front of her. The light is red, the smoke swims through the air. She’s talking about, yeah, I have a record coming out. It has this song called Lucky Star on it. You wanna hear? I’ve got a demo of it on a tape in my purse.

She puts it on, yeah, it’s good. You look at her, she takes a long drag of her cigarette. Her numerous bracelets on her wrist chime like…

The song is over, I’m lying on my son’s bed, I’ve got this weathered Nerf basketball in my hand. I look over at the basket across the room, shoot, it hits the backboard,

And goes in.

-Clint Curtis


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