I was driving 5mph on the 101, on my way back from kickboxing, when I heard Madonna’s “Material Girl” on KOST 103.5 Southern California’s Favorite Soft Rock.
My next thought was of the first time I had ever heard the song. When I was 7, at a sleepover in Kelly Wickman’s basement. It was a cassette tape. I remember awesome snacks and how Kelly Wickman had a canopy bed and used to wear the best clothes. Navy, kelly green, embroidered whales on one of her jumpers. Her hair was always done in a cute girlie style with matching ribbons and beaded hair ties. Mine was done in the style of “bowl”. I had a CareBears sleeping bag at this party. We were a frenzy of giggling, sugar and yell-singing.
And I didn’t know the song. At all. Everyone else seemed to. And I soaked up their enthusiasm like an awkward sponge just trying to fit in.
I now realize this was the inception of my long-standing inability to retain popular lyrics. But to sing in social situations like I do know them. To move my mouth in vowel formations. Grab on to repeated chorus lines. Dance with my hair in my face or “laugh at something” when the inevitable next verse arrived.
I grew up in a house that wouldn’t have cable until MTV was over even their own music videos. I listened to Christian Rock on the radio. I watched Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. As far as Madonna was concerned, I was f*cked.
In honor of that moment where I realized there was a world that had Madonna and diamonds in it, before I knew what it meant to like a boy (way, waaaaay before), and just prior to watching “The Neverending Story” and believing that at any second, all that could be left in space were: me, a grain of sand, and Barrett Oliver…
My favorite lyrics (I know them by heart):
Watch out for the medallion,
My diamonds are wreckless.
Feels like a midget,
Is hangin’ from my necklace.
Poetry. (Both Luda’ and Madonna like diamonds.)