"The Funk of Forty Thousand Years"

Oh my god, have you guys heard about THIS???

Thriller Dance Day

Levels of awesome:
1. People learning the Thriller dance. Awesome.
2. People tutoring other people to learn the Thriller dance. Super awesome.
3. Everyone doing the Thriller dance all at the same time, globally. Mega awesome.

I have so many life stories related to Michael Jackson, Thriller, the Thriller dance, that I don’t even know where to begin. But reading about Thrill the World made me immediately think about 11th grade Chemistry.

Let me start off by saying that 11th grade Chemistry was the class in high school that I sucked the most at out of every class I think I have ever taken. After going to college and learning that science was actually something that I had an affinity for, I can see now that my lovable but incompetent Chemistry teacher had something to do with my suckitude. Not that I am playing the Blame Game here, I know part of it was my fault, but Mister Victor wasn’t helping me out and in fact had very little interest in making people understand shit. Sorry, Mister Victor, as I know you were a nice enough fellow and you used to make us laugh when we would make a mistake and you would say in your so-not-cool way “smooth move, ex-lax!” We appreciated your penchant for ridiculing mistakes. It’s just not, in the bigger picture, the best teaching technique. I’m just saying.

There are three things I remember about that class in particular.

One was the time that I embarrassed myself in front of the class in lab when I presented my lab results and instead of saying Erlenmeyer Flask, for some godawful reason I said “Urethra-Meyer Flask.” Oh yes I did.

Second was my friends Heidi and Bacchus (ok his name wasn’t really Bacchus but he had a really unusual name like that). The three of us would spend lots of time in that class coming up with dirty words and phrases for the letters of the elements for the periodic table. (Number 67, Holmium, was already done for us! HO! Har har!)

Third was Suresh.

Suresh sat in the row in front of Heidi, Bacchus and me. He was a 10th grader, but the old puberty hormones hadn’t kicked in so he looked about 12. He was geeky. Like, Urkel geeky. He had the exact same hairstyle as Orville Redenbacher. And he smelled like mothballs. He didn’t trust his locker, he told us, so he would carry around every book to every class, and due to the fact that he was about four feet tall, the stack of books was taller than he was, and so he was constantly dropping them. And he had this calculator watch that he always wanted to talk about. ALWAYS. Every day he would, at some point, turn around and try to join in our conversation by telling us about his calculator watch. We always let him tell us, but then there was always a lull in the conversation after he had shown us the feature. Really, what can you say to someone who has just done a quadratic equation on his wrist for you? Especially when, at that point in your life, you don’t know what a quadratic equation even IS and you just want to go back to making up dirty elements? We actually liked Suresh, and could tell there was something about him that could be tapped for friendship. Like the time we watched him ask Amy (a cheerleader), totally out of the blue, whether she shaved her legs or if she was naturally hairless, like a hairless dog. There has to be something rockin’ about someone who would say funny shit like that, right? But we could never really make the connection with him. He couldn’t cross over into raunchy giggle land with us, and we couldn’t make the leap into let’s-talk-about-my-watch-again land with him.

Late in the year (I want to say, for dramatic purposes, that it was the last week of school or something like that, but I honestly don’t think it was), there was a day where we were left to our own devices in the classroom. (Can I just say that this seemed to happen a lot in my high school. The teachers would just leave and we would spend the hour running amok in the room. I am so proud of my education, I can’t even begin to tell you.) And someone, I can’t remember who, busted out a little radio or something and was playing it. Thriller was already years old at this point, but for some reason it came on the radio station that we were listening to. I will never forget this as long as I live. It was a classroom that had tiered seating, so the last row was higher up than the rows in front of it. Suresh jumped out of his chair so fast that it startled me, Heidi and Bacchus. He sprinted up to the top of the classroom, behind the back row and he BUSTED OUT THE THRILLER DANCE! Balls to the wall, full on, lip-syncing and doing every move perfectly. It was like the last scene in Napoleon Dynamite, for REALS.

I want to say that after that dance, we all became great friends and Suresh was suddenly cool. It didn’t happen like that, but damn, it was a SHINING MOMENT. We were all agape. No one made fun of it. Everyone, even the hairless dog, was totally into it. Just for the duration of that song. It was the best.

See how the Thriller dance brings people together?

I’m out,
Librarian Girl


  1. You know why I love geeks? They’re freaks on the inside, calculators on the inside. They can also rock your world in bed once the glasses come off.They ARE like Superman, if you think about it.And they can get away with calling cheerleaders “hairless bitches”. Politely.

  2. OMG we are totally doing the Thrill the World thing! I will be back in Rainy Town by then, so mark your calendar and practice holding your shoulders in an awkward position LG.

  3. I got to participate in an awesome Thriller dance moment on Halloween last year! A group of about 5 people in full costume came up to me & my group of Halloweener friends and asked if we would help them with a scavenger hunt. We said sure and followed them out to the parking lot of the bar (The Essen Haus in Madison, perhaps you know it?). Once we were all outside they revealed that we had to do the Thriller Dance with them while a member of their group recorded it all on their digital video camera. Dream come true! The costumed dance crew included: 2 vampiresTina Turnera fairyAli G. a cowgirla beer wenchWalter Sobcek (from The Big Lebowski)a bananaA crowd actually gathered around us and cheered. One of the finest moments of my life!

  4. I think I would have been Suresh’s best friend. I just fell a little in love with him and his geeky calculator watch.What is it about high school chemistry? It sucked just as much in a school in Snellville, Georgia. I had a football coach for my teacher. Seriously? What the heck can a football coach teach me about chemistry? Nothing. That’s what he could teach me.

  5. awesome, you just know he was is so cool now, one of those people who comes into their own latter in life. Ok, seriously you make me feel old, I swear we’re close to the same age but I can not remember anything that specific about high school. dang.

  6. I was working in a night club in 1982 when Thriller came out. No, I did not personally learn the dance. But some did, and it was a lot of fun to watch a dance floor full of people doing it.

  7. So I made the mistake of taking a drink of water before I read the Suresh story. Not a good plan. Especially when you wrote that his hair looked like Orville Redenbacher. Also, it’s a great idea to teach people the Thriller dance because it’s my opinion that everyone *thinks* that they know it but few people actually do. Case in point: I went to a wedding this summer and one of my guy friends thought that our group of friends should get out on the dance floor and dance to Thriller. He cleared the dance floor, had the DJ play the song and then we all realized that we only knew bits and pieces. For instance, I can rock the gallop like nobody’s business but that’s about it.

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