Let Your Freak Flag Fly

I was about 8 years old when I discovered Weird Al Yancovic. Super odd, frizzy-haired, a parody song-writer (and I’m talking about myself…), I felt I had found a musical kindred spirit. 

Between the ages of 8-12 I attended 2 Weird Al concerts. The first with my parents at the state fair, the second my patient, kleenex-in-their-ears grandparents took my cousin and I to. I was so excited that second time that it is forever burned in my memory as the first time I got yelled at for screaming too loud at a concert.

Years have passed since my parodied polka days, but then, last night, I found myself back in 10 year old heaven – I went to a Weird Al concert. 

My awesome father, who shares my love for things both musical and ironic, surprised me with tickets for a dad & kid date, further proving himself as The Bomb for the cagillionth time. 

The best part about the evening was the pure, unadulterated fun filling up the building. 

After a 30 year career, Weird Al was still up there rocking the accordion, riling up the crowd, and having a blast. I will never get tired of watching performers enjoy themselves. And people in general. 

Being unapologetic about what you enjoy, or what inspires you is, to me, one of the most important and admirable qualities a person can have. 

I was surprised to be reminded of such an important message in such an unexpected environment. I was laughing out loud from Amish Paradise all the way through the Star Wars song (to which, I will admit, I still knew every word to…) Weird Al is pretty frackin odd, but he is uncompromising and totally owns it. It was so refreshing to see someone so full of zest and just totally doing what they love, no matter how eccentric it was.

Overcome with nostalgia and Kiltlifters, I gotta admit, I got pretty misty-eyed there at the end. As I looked around the theatre jam-packed with glee-filled ten year olds and their dads, I got very sentimental. Not just about how insanely much I adore my parents, but about growing up and the damage it does to our confidence. 

What happens between the total courage of childhood to the complete drowning insecurities of adolescence? How did I go from Weird Al to Britney Spears? And how do we get back to that puerile enthusiasm of not caring how “weird” or different we are?

I loved seeing all the geeky little kids, feeling accepted and surrounded by like-minded people. Unabashedly shuffling through their Weird Al trading cards (Which I was just as surprised as you existed), clamoring to the front row and doing the Wayne & Garth “We Are Not Worthy” bow, and having a blast. It was so nice to be reminded that that positive goofy energy is out there in full swing.  

As I watched Weird Al Yankovic strut through the audience in a neon orange tiger-print suit, air humping concert goers and making goofy faces, I thought about how incredibly fun it is to watch people who are kooky, fun-loving, and just totally do their own thing. I guess that’s why Al has not only had a shockingly long career, but has become so embedded in our cultural sphere. He’s genuine, bizarre, talented, completely willing to make fun of himself, and is totally unapologetically enjoying the ride. 

This recent experience has reminded me to have fun and to let my freak flag fly. Take that bold fashion step, trust your instincts, enjoy yourself. I also happened to pick up some sweet new dance moves, and my new favorite phrase: “You can find my picture – in the dictionary. Under KABLAM!” 

Thanks, Weird Al.

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