I did it again – I went out! And I had a blast!

My former middle school put on a show called “Back to the 80s.” I’d never heard of it, but I do love vintage Madonna. Plus, I knew some of my former castmates would want to see what John Jay Middle School is up to these days and maybe we’d grab a drink after and reminisce about our favorite performances. 

This time, I prepared Lucky in advance. We talked for two days about me going out for the evening, and I took him on a nice long walk before I left. I thought it’d be fun to dress like the theme of the play, so I borrowed one of my mom’s jackets with shoulder pads, put on a pair of Harem pants (they called them parachute pants in the ‘80s – how weird) and a pair of sneakers. My mom suggested I crimp my hair and handed me her very own, and very old, hair crimper. 

My look was almost complete. I just needed one more thing – I grabbed my favorite Gan 11 Pro 3×3 speed cube (like a Rubix cube, but better) so I could be the 1980s. The look was perfect!

I gave Lucky a special treat, reminded him I would only be gone a couple of hours, ascended the stairs from the Layer of Joy, waved goodbye to my parents as they applauded my outfit and left for a night of fun at JJMS. 

I’m so glad I was a little early this time because the theater was packed! It was hard to tell if any of my old classmates were there, so I sat next to a group of friendly-looking middle-aged women and said hello. They said hi back and complimented me on my outfit. They couldn’t believe I nailed the look so perfectly!

Two of them had children in the show, and I told them that my editor’s daughter plays the role of Laura. Then I shared the most important news – I was a former thespian and performed in six shows on that very stage. I was even the lead in eighth grade. They seemed impressed.

When the musical began, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away! There were two opening numbers and these kids sang on key while doing some pretty complicated dance moves. Plus, there was a live band. It was like the off-Broadway shows I snuck into when I was at NYU. Some of these kids have talent – it was hard to believe they’re only in middle school.

The play was about some older guy remembering his senior year of high school in the ‘80s. He ran for senior class president and was in love with the prettiest girl in school. Spoiler alert: he lost the election and eventually got the girl. 

The audience was so much fun – they sang along to the songs, and I joined in on the ones I knew. The ladies next to me laughed at some things I didn’t get, so I made a mental note to Google Milli Vanilli, David Hasselhoff, Mr. Miyagi and wax on, wax off.   

At intermission, I amazed my neighbors with my cubing skills and then had my picture taken in front of the giant cubes at the theater entrance. It’s too bad they weren’t properly coded (blue never goes next to green), but they were still really cool.

My favorite songs of the show were “Kids in America,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – the girl who sang that song NAILED IT! I can’t believe she’s not a professional! But my ultimate favorite was when Billy and Laura Rick Rolled the entire audience! I couldn’t stop laughing, but my new friends didn’t seem to understand why. I guess they weren’t cool in the ‘80s.

When the musical was over, I looked around for my former castmates, but I didn’t see anyone I knew. Maybe they’re coming to a different performance? If not, they definitely missed out. I had a blast – these kids sure know how to put on a show! 

I walked into my house humming “Kids in America.” I couldn’t wait to download the soundtrack, but first, Lucky. As soon as he saw me coming down the stairs, he began barking excitedly. I picked him up, hoping to prevent another “welcome home present,” but I was too late. He peed again. Maybe it’s just his thing? It’s kinda nice that he’s so excited to see me that he can’t hold it in, right? 

I let Lucky sleep in my bed, and we both fell asleep listening to my new favorite soundtrack. I hear the high school is performing “The Wedding Singer” in a few weeks. I can’t wait!

About the author

I was ready to take the world by storm. I was one semester away from earning my Global Liberal Studies degree from NYU when life came to a halt. I’d learned so much about our incredible, interconnected world, and just when I was ready to make a name for myself on this beautiful planet, everything stopped. 

There was no way I was staying in my one-bedroom apartment with four roommates during a global pandemic, so I moved home and completed my degree online. I never imagined that, two years later, I’d finally emerge from the cozy cocoon of my parent’s basement a changed person. Thanks to YouTube, I’ve learned so much about myself – maybe more than I did throughout all six years of college. 

I’m a changed human, and I’m ready to celebrate the new me with like-minded peers. People say Northern Westchester is a place for families and retirees, but I’m going to prove them wrong. I know there are plenty of adults just like me who want to take advantage of everything this incredible life has to offer. And I’m going to find them! 

Watch out world – I’m back, and I’m fierce!

Cheers,
Jae