Monday, January 21, 2008



Last Saturday night, some friends and I got together and had a pajama party. (It's always great fun to hang out with your friends in your PJ's) At some point during the evening, the we went into the room where the kids were watching Sesame Street. It wasn't long before the so-called adults were standing slack-jawed and mesmerized in front of the TV while the kids wandered off into another room to play.

I never noticed before, but Sesame Street is like an acid trip for kids! Between the crazy music, the trippy cartoon shorts, the dancing letters, and those hyperkinetic muppets, I thought we were watching footage of last year's Burning Man festival. I used to watch Sesame Street every day when I was little. How had I never noticed how bizarre it was?

Of course, my formative years took place during the 1970's. The entire world was a little bit like an LSD adventure in the 70's, wasn't it? Every neighborhood had THAT GUY --the one with the conversion van painted like the Partrige Family bus-- and the family with THAT BASEMENT --the one with shag carpeting, wood paneling, lava lamps, and beaded curtains over the doors. We went to elementary schools where all of the teachers were hippies and there were no desks, only "S" shaped tables that were mainly used at snack time. Otherwise, we sat on the floor, in bean bag chairs, or in plastic cube chairs that could also be stacked into giant towers to knock over. Groovy!

I remember my favorite outfit in first grade: tiny little jeans and an equally tiny, matching jean jacket. On the ankle of the jeans were a bunch of embroidered flowers, and on the pocket an embroidered butterfly. The jacket was embellished with a caterpiller, a butterfly, and a mushroom! I wore this little ensemble with a t-shirt that had a purple, green and orange caterpiller crawling over the words "inching along". I guess back then, it was okay to dress your 5-year-old in clothing that had drug-related inuendos at every seam. Especially when the 5-year-old wore that outfit while sitting in a bean bag chair and the flower-child music teacher lead the class in a rousing rendition of "Puff the Magic Dragon". After a day like that, Sesame Street was a dose of normalcy!

Flash forward 30 years, and I'm standing in my pajamas, watching what I can only describe as a muppet rave, complete with house music, strobe lights, glow sticks, confetti, and puppets dancing in a sort of group grand mal seizure. That was followed by a cartoon short that I remember fondly from my caterpiller years: the letters of the alphabet superimposed on a multi-colored Rorschach test that changes each time the letters morph into one another. While this is going on, a distorted, echoey voice identifies each letter: AAAaaayyybeeEEESEEeeedeeEEEEeeeeeEEFFGEEeee.

Then there's Elmo. Elmo wasn't around when I was little, and I am certainly glad of that. I think an entire generation would be even more screwed up that it already is, had that annoying red monster existed in the 70's. Elmo is like the beligerant drunk who monopolizes every conversation and interjects himself into every activity at the party. Everyone around him is wondering WHEN this character is going to pass out, but he keeps on going with that grating voice, that habit of refering to himself in third person, and that incessant, inappropriate, high pitched laugh. Plus, he goes on and on about some imaginary friend, Mr. Noodle, who has the intellectual capacity of a doorknob and doesn't speak.

Finally, when we were all about to slip into a state of perpetual stoned apathy, James Blunt showed up at Sesame Street to snap us back into reality. He woke us up by performing "My tri-angle, my tri-angle" to the tune of "You're Beautiful" while a triangle and a fuzzy purple monster cavorted in front of him. We all shook our head to reacquaint ourselves with our surroundings and went off to find the kids. Interestingly enough, they were all sitting contentedly side by side and EATING a foam pool noodle in unison. (Apparently, I'm not the only one who has issues with Mr. Noodle)

It's strange that the morning after the PJ party, I woke up with the worst hangover I've had in months, even though I didn't drink anything the night before! Was it a Sesame Street hangover? Possibly. We are going to test the theory out next month when we plan on sitting in our pajamas and watching Fraggle Rock.

Incidently, does anyone know were I can score some HnR Puff-n-Stuff DVD's?

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