This past summer, I missed out on a very important event with my Puerto Rican/Irish family: my little sister’s, who is the youngest of four kids and my closest sibling, Quinceañera in Puerto Rico. The event had been on the table for over a year and I had intended to save for it…but evidently did not save enough. I thought about possible solutions and, with a little family help, came up with an idea: bring my little sister, Michealla “Mickey” Fitzpatrick, out to Los Angeles for a week or two.
The trip ended up being a hoot, the absolute best time a twenty five and fifteen year old sibling pair could have. I introduced her to American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, and Marc Jacobs. I showed her how to play with make-up and create new hairstyles. I taught her what a Mint Julep is, although I did not let her have a sip. I did everything a gay older brother should do for a budding teen sister and, for that, we grew even closer.
After the LA vay-cay, she had to go back to the slums of Augusta, Georgia, a city where I had begrudgingly attended high school, thinking things couldn’t get anymore unfabulous. ” Though she lives in the same town where I went to high school, things have changed in ten years. But how? Is she more mature than I was? Is she having more fun? Will she realize the ironic use of the word “y’all” before I did? I wonder how her life is different than mine–before the Internet affected things.
Thus, I wanted to create a forum to open a conversational door with my sister to see just exactly how kids are these days.
With that, I present 21st Century Kid, where my sister Mickey and I will chat about what’s new in news, popular culture, and our lives.
“Did you see the Gaga/Timberlake SNL??” she asked super excitedly over the phone. She practically drooled into my ear with the question, salivating to have the conversation about it. “I watched it on Hulu. She was sooo hilarious. I didn’t think it could be that funny!”
“I agree. I was really surprised.”
“She doesn’t seem like the funny type of person. But, she was great–especially in the sketch with Andy Samberg, The Golden Rule. I like that she worked eighties chic,” she said.
“Yeah, I know,” I said, but thought, Wait: eighties chic? Wasn’t that nineties? That is neither here nor there, but I did realize that for someone born in 1995, the late eighties, early nineties, TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, and pagers were all in the same time period: the eighties.
I also thought that it was interesting that a song about a complicated three-way being an excuse for two bros to go gay was her favorite part. I don’t even think I would have gotten that when I was fifteen. I would have just thought the oatmeal joke was funny!
“Did you watch it with your friends?” I asked.
“We do an SNL night and all my friends go on Facebook, in a group chat, and talk about it. It’s faster than texting and forwarding texts and stuff. We watch it on Hulu from our houses and chat online.”
“Wait: you guys chat in a group on Facebook? I didn’t even know you could do a group chat on Facebook!!”
“You can–if you make a group.”
“Why not GChat or AIM? That’s what I did in high school.”
“Not everyone has AIM and a lot are a little too lazy to set it up.”
I can hear my mother in the background, yelling something into her phone about work.
“Why don’t you guys just hang out and watch it together?”
“None of us can drive and some parents aren’t as flexible as others. We do what we can with what we have. We improvise.”
Some time passes. I mention the new Lady Gaga album, which had come out a few days before we spoke.
“Have you heard the new Gaga album?” I asked.
“I guess I’m a little standoffish toward it. All I want to hear is ‘Edge of Glory,’ but I didn’t see it on the album on iTunes.”
“Oh, well my copy has it.”
With that, I bought her a copy online and shipped it to her fast. Via text, I followed up: “You listen to the Gaga album? What are your favorite songs?”
Quickly, I was shot back: “I did!! Love it!…Favorite is ‘Bad Kids,’ ‘Edge of Glory,’ and ‘Black Jesus’…I think that’s the name?”
First off, my version doesn’t have a song called “Black Jesus.” Secondly, I looked up the album’s discography and got all old man on myself: I was appalled there was a song called, “Black Jesus † Amen Fashion.” I just mouthed a big, “WTF??,” to myself.
“It was hysterical.”
“Mickey, I can barely read what I write. I can’t read a book.”
“It took me, like, a day to read it because it was so funny: I felt like she was sitting here telling me the story. I was afraid to read it because I thought it could be geared toward adults.”
Ah-ha: my conservative parent’s aversion to “adult things” to enter kids’ minds still prevails, I see.
“My favorite part would have to be creating 30 Rock and how, without Alec Baldwin, the show wouldnt have been good,” said Mickey.
She then went on to recite a section of the book by memory, which was an extended joke that inferred Alec Baldwin equals success, fame, credibility, etc:
“When [Tina Fey] was little, her best friends were two older gay guys who took her under their wing. They were like twenty five and she was eleven. And, she fell in love with them and realized how funny/awkward it was for them to be friends. I really identified with that.”
“That’s really funny. I have a lot of comedy friends who identify with her and I think, ‘Umm, you aren’t funny. You are noooo Tina Fey.’ Do you identify with her?”
“Well, the things she says people can relate to in different ways. I personally felt connected with her about her theatre friends, since I’m big into theatre and she’s into theatre and does comedy and got discovered. I think that’s cool.”
“Oh,” I said again, verbally put in my place by a fifteen year old for being a bitch.
“The fact she was a writer for SNL and was Sarah Pailin is really cool.”
“Do you remember when she was on the show? Was she on before your time?” I asked.
“I was old enough to remember. But, I didn’t grasp what she was talking about. I wanted to read [the book] because of 30 Rock and Baby Mama.”
“You reading anything else now?”
“Yeah, I’m, like, on a memoir kick. I’m working on another, but it’s not as great. It’s Anthony Rapps and it’s called Without You.”
She explains the book to me.
“Did you know he was in Adventures In Babysitting?”
I explain Adventures In Babysitting to her.
“The book is named after one of the songs in Rent.”
My bitter gay emerges: “I hate that musical.”
“I hear that a lot from older actors I work with.”
“Why do you love it so much?”
“I find I relate to it because it’s about losing friends. I first saw it a few days after a friend committed suicide. Three people I know committed suicide within the last three years. I’m not sure of the specifics, but they were fourteen or fifteen. They always seem so happy and like they would’t do any harm to anyone.”
She then detailed how some were suspected suicides and others were perhaps accidents. We don’t discuss the “It Gets Better” project or the recent trend of sucide, but it definitely lingers above us.
We close out the conversation, reminiscing on what we’d previously spoken about Lady Gaga: perhaps Born This Way is more important than we think.
Kyle Fitzpatrick is a homosexual former military brat writer, actor, and comedian who loves horror films, champagne, short shorts, dogs, and CAPS LOCK. Follow him on Twitter and check out his dog Tumblr!