We were driving in the car tonight, on our way to the zoo, when, as often happens when she’s not using her iPad, Lexi asked me about where the animals go in winter. I thought about it, realized I had no answer, and basically said the zoo people know how to handle the situation. She was nonplussed, but moved on. Then she told me about how she had been there for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago, which reminded me whose birthday it is today…
Me: Speaking of birthdays, did you know that it is Michael Jackson’s birthday today?
Lexi: He’s your favorite singer. Does he still have birthdays even though he’s dead?
Me: Well, it’s still the day he was born on, so I guess so. I remember it anyway.
Lexi: How old would he be today?
Me: Um… well, he died seven years ago so he would be fifty-seven today.
Lexi: Wow, and people still celebrate it?
Me: Yeah. Why not? He was very influential to a lot of people, just like he still is to me, even though he’s dead.
Lexi: Because there’s still a lot of music he put out that you can listen to.
Me: Exactly right.
So I decided to check my iPod for MJ songs so I could play a few in honor of his birthday, but my iPod is all screwy and somehow I only have five MJ songs on it at the moment. I set it to play all five songs, and the first one was “Remember the Time.”
Me: This one’s called “Remember the Time.” It’s from 1992, and the video was spectacular. All of his videos were spectacular.
Lexi: What was it about?
Me: Well, it was about Egypt. It had an Egyptian theme.
Lexi: I LOVE EGYPT!
Me: I know you do. And I do too, at least how it’s represented in the video for this song.
Lexi: What does the video show?
Me: Well, it’s set in ancient Egypt. Eddie Murphy is this Pharaoh, and Michael Jackson is a magician trying to win the favor of the Pharaoh…
Lexi: I know all about ancient Egypt. When they died, it’s real nasty, but they took out the organs and put them in these jars.
Me: Yes, canopic jars.
Lexi: Yeah, those. They put all the organs in them, but not the heart. The heart they left in the body.
Me: How come?
Lexi: Because after death they were supposed to go to the underworld and this god down there weighed the heart on these scales. There was like this feather of truth on the scales too, and if the heart weighed more than the feather some bird ate the heart and you couldn’t go to the afterlife.
Me: Whoa. Are you serious?
Lexi: Well, yeah, something like that. It was rough.
Me: Did you know that many mythologies deal with something like these scales you’re talking about?
Lexi: No. I only know about that because it was in this book I read about ancient Egypt.
Me: Would you be scared if they were going to take your heart to weigh it?
Lexi: No. I would be DEAD. I wouldn’t know anything.
Me: I know that, but if you were still aware of things…
Lexi: Um, that can’t happen, dad.
Me: Okay, okay. Whatever. My point is that even to get to the afterlife you have to take this serious test. It’s like school, except with scales.
Lexi: Um, yeah, it’s nothing like that.
Me: How would you know? Were you around back then?
Lexi: How did we even get on this topic anyway?
Me: Because I talked about Michael Jackson.
Lexi: Oh yeah. Can you turn up the volume on that?
Me: Sure, Lex. Sure.