Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Elton John Story


So late last night at the wino party, when everyone still there was feeling toasty and the conversation was getting confusing, someone put in a documentary that featured a number of live musical performances from the late 70s at a club in England (I should remember what club it was—but I was in my cups last night, so I don’t). People were singing along and talking about the performances, and gradually the entire party wound up sitting around watching the documentary.

I went in the room when I heard “I Will Follow,” and joined in the critique of Bono’s mullet (for the record—I fell in love with U2 at the age of ten after my babysitter played “War” for me, so I can live with the hair. I couldn’t really live with Zoo TV). Countless other acts followed, Bonnie Rait, REM, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits (with an unlined face—I always think of him as an ancient man), and then Elton John. Oh oh.

Elton John spelled trouble. The reason's a bit complicated.

As much as I hate the whole “Candle in the Wind” crap, that isn't the reason why Elton John makes me cringe. The man made some beautiful music in the 70s. He’s phenomenally talented. I used to really love listening to him when I was a kid. Until this one evening when I was ten, I thought he was amazing. After that evening, I didn’t listen to him again for nearly twenty years. Now I can listen to him, but I usually have to tell people my Elton John story. So here’s my Elton John story.

When I was a kid, my parents and their friends used to celebrate each other’s birthdays with rowdy dinner parties. The kind with lots of booze and inappropriate humor. We kids would always wind up stuck upstairs (we’d sneak down, but we’d usually be caught and sent back upstairs to bed).

Well, I’d just turned ten when the party was again at my parents’ house. I’d done my sneaking around and had been sent to bed. I must have fallen asleep, because it was really dark when I woke up. Something was wrong, though, because Elton John was being played rather loudly on the stereo. I couldn’t get back to sleep because of the music, so I decided to go downstairs to ask if they could be quiet, or barring that, if I could have some cake.

I padded down the stairs, and discovered that the house was dark. Perhaps the party moved to the porch, I thought. I wandered over to the porch door, and it was dark there too. No one seemed to be here anymore. Huh.

In my family, we didn’t do things like shut doors and such. Things were pretty open, so I didn’t think anything at all about heading to my parents’ room to tell them to turn the music off. I walked toward my parents’ room, and yep, you guessed it.

My parents were having sex.

Now I was ten. I knew what sex was. My parents had given me the basic rundown as to how my sister and I came into the world, and I had watched enough HBO at my friends’ houses to know the other details. What I didn’t get was why in the hell anyone would want to do such a thing. It was so, so… Ick.

Not one to keep things to myself, I decided to make myself heard. I shouted out, “I know what you’re doing, and I think it’s DISGUSTING!!!!”

I’ve never seen my parents move so fast in all my days. My dad was out of that room in about two seconds flat. The music was off a second later.

My mom, realizing that she was going to have to deal with this, gathered up some blankets and tried to soothe her distressed child.

“Come here,” she said, and patted the bed.
I looked at her like she was dangerous. I did not trust her one little bit. “I don’t want to sit down.”

“It’s OK,” she said. “I think we need to have a little talk. Please sit down.”

I sat down. “What did you think we were doing, honey?” my mother asked me.

I stared down at the covers, shame flooding through me. I couldn’t say it at first, but I managed to mumble it, still staring at the pattern of my parents’ quilt, “Humping. You and dad were humping.”

“Well, honey, that isn’t what I call it…” and she went on to explain that when two married people love each other, blah dee blah dee blah… After she finished her explanation, I felt better about things, but I still needed to make something clear. “If I get a little brother or sister out of this, I’m going to be really mad. One’s enough.”

My mother replied, “Well, we’re not trying to have a baby, honey, so don’t worry.”

“Then why were you doing it?” I demanded. This unfortunately led to more conversation about loving people and sex and nonsense like that. I was sorry I’d brought it up. I went back upstairs and tried to sleep. I couldn’t get Elton John music out of my head.

The next month or so was awkward as ass around my parents, especially my dad (there was no eye contact for a good bit), but eventually things returned to normal. And about a year or two later, I had an inkling as to what the fuss was all about.

But I still couldn’t listen to Elton John without wincing. Elton John equaled catching my parents in the sack. Elton John was yucky. People would occasionally play Elton John music, and I’d tell them to turn that shit off. If they wouldn’t turn it off, I’d tell them my story. Problem was, they'd usually laugh, and I'd have to tell it again when other people were around.
In the retelling, I’ve realized just what an appalling little shit I was, sounding off like that. My poor, poor parents.

It seems that time has also gone a long way toward mending that moment, because as I watched Elton John perform “Tiny Dancer,” on the TV last night, I once again thought that he was pretty great.

But I still had to tell my Elton John story after the song was over.

24 comments:

Old Knudsen said...

So was the song Rocket Man by any chance? hahaha.
A little boy walked in on his parents about to have sex he points to her twat and asks"whats that?" the nervous dad explains its where someone accidently hit her with an axe when she was young, the little boy thinks for a bit and says,"wow right in the cunt too".

dive said...

Hee hee, Old Man …

I'm so sorry, Sassy, but your story just made me laugh until the tears rolled down my cheeks. Thank you for that.

"I know what you're doing and I think it's DISGUSTING!"

"Humping"

"If I get a little brother or sister out of this, I'm going to be really mad. One's enough" (poor Yetta)!

That's genuinely the funniest thing I've read in ages. And funny because it's so true and brings back so many memories. I feel some future embarrassingly hilarious posts coming on …

And I love "Tiny Dancer" for other reasons …

Robyn said...

Really, the "I think it's digusting" line is classic. I can just see a little Sassy standing in the door with her hands on her hips. Great story.

Do your parents ever tell this story?

Sassy Sundry said...

Hey, how did my comment disappear?

Oh well, if this posts again, my apologies.

"Rocket Man" might have been playing (this was over a couple of songs), but I've honestly blocked it out.

I'm glad you liked the story. It's one of those ones that people ask me to tell again when other people are around. Most people see the deed and run back to their rooms. Not me.

Robyn, my mom has laughed about that line a couple of times, but my dad has never mentioend the incident to me again, nor I to him.

Sassy Sundry said...

Oh, and Yetta is my friend, not my sister. My sister doesn't have much access to the information superhighway.

Taihae said...

oh sassy, thats hilarious. I was a strange kid myself, in that my parents having sex didnt bother me at all. in fact, i can remember my mom being in one of her many crazy moods, and fervently wishing that dad would bang her so she would be in a good mood.

Anonymous said...

so glad to 'hear' this story again! i love it every time!

was it therapeautic (sp?) for you to write this out for the world to see?

peace from maine,
'smokestack wilson'

Sassy Sundry said...

Wow, Taihae. I guess you were much better adjusted than I was in that area. Good for you.

Welcome, Smokestack! Pleased to hear from the Land of the Way Life Should Be. And I'm glad that my Elton John story doesn't bore you, as you've heard it more than just about anyone.

Fat Sparrow said...

Oh God. I'm a few years older than you, but I do remember being a kid in the 70's, and "humping" being just about the dirtiest word we could think of. How times have changed.

Officially, my parents have never ever had sex. Thank God.

But I did have to put up with listneing to my ex-in-laws having sex, which was the grossest thing ever, as I knew what was going on.

Sassy Sundry said...

Is this the same ex who ran over the long-deceased dog and tried to wash the car with bong water and blue ice? If so, those in-laws should not have been allowed to have sex. Ever.

Incidentally, if you haven't read that story, get thee over to Fat Sparrow and read it. You'll pee.

Kav said...

Thank you for making me laugh out loud at work. Classic.

Oh, and you say it lasted a few songs? So how long were you standing there watching them shagging before you said anything? that's just...ugh.

Sassy Sundry said...

Welcome, Kav. Glad to make you laugh.

I meant that it was a few songs between waking up, deciding to go down stairs, and witnessing the incident (which lasted for about two seconds, which was as long as it took me to figure out what was going on and to say my peace). Shuttering at the thought.

Before Girl said...

Oh. My. God. This is the BEST story to read while at work, I have to say. You had to have been the funniest kid to adults, and you probably thought, "What? It's true, isn't it? This is the way I feel so why are you laughing? It's NOT funny."

I also hope your parents don't read your blog. :)

Sassy Sundry said...

My parents don't even know this blog exists.

Hope it didn't break the silence too much.

Yetta 2 said...

Funny story! My daughter Haleigh still has a lump on her forehead from having a door slammed shut on her face, after she burst into my room and found my friend and me in a very, uuuhummm, compromising situation. I think she may still be damaged!

james said...

dude . . . HYSTERICAL!

Sassy Sundry said...

Yetta---I remember you telling me that. Poor thing (and poor you)!

James---Glad you laughed.

Kav said...

I find your explanation acceptable. Any other explanation and...words would fail me.

Sassy Sundry said...

Glad to hear that it meets with your approval, Kav.

Fat Sparrow said...

"Is this the same ex who ran over the long-deceased dog and tried to wash the car with bong water and blue ice? If so, those in-laws should not have been allowed to have sex. Ever."

That would be the ones.

And listening to them isn't half as bad as finding all their sex toys and "dress up" accoutrements lying around the next morning.

If, in the future, you have in-laws, and they ask you to share a cabin in the mountains with them for the holidays, just say "no."

Sassy Sundry said...

Eeeeewwww. In-law sex toys and dress-up clothes. I'm so glad they are your EX-in-laws.

RICH said...

Great story.. my parents use to do it to Tom Jones. Hah hah. I remember coming down stairs and finding clothes thrown all over the living room and Tom Jones LP's along with Englbert Humpadink (sp)

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