One of the great sadnesses in Elder Girleen’s life, in fact, her largest cross to bear, is that we possess neither a satellite dish or cable TV, which means we don’t get the Disney Channel. Since we don’t have the Disney Channel, she can’t watch Hannah Montana. Two years ago I’d never even heard of Hannah Montana, and I’m still not entirely clear on all the details, but I think you can watch Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. I’m not sure.
Hannah Montana is often mentioned in the same breath as High School Musical, but Elder Girleen tells me they are different phenomena. I know that my ignorance in these matters is about the same as if, thirty years ago, my own mother had turned to me and asked if the B-52s and Devo were the same band. While she put air quotes around the word band, so that I’d know that she considered what I was listening to music only in the loosest sense of the word.
Actually it’s not exactly the same, because I cared about this sort of thing when I was thirteen, and Elder Girleen is… six.
But Hannah Montana is the bomb, as anybody reading this already knows. At Elder Girleen’s elementary school, which — multicultural, scruffy, arty —can sometimes resemble the school in the movie Fame, kids are welcome to sign up to perform at the school-wide Morning Meeting after announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance (after their offering has been vetted by the principal, of course), and about a week ago, Elder Girleen came home and announced that she and several friends would be performing today and her dad and I had better be there.
We won’t even go into the fact that I have a hard time grasping that my elder daughter, who, as far as I’m concerned, was still in diapers just yesterday, now has an entire social life that I know nothing about. (They practiced this? They’ve arranged for music? But they can’t even feed themselves!)
The main thing is that this morning, Elder Girleen and three friends climbed up on the stage in the auditorium in their school and when they announced that they were going to sing a Hannah Montana song, the entire student body groaned appreciatively with one voice, as if those four six-year-old girls had just gotten up there and announced that they were going to give away free ice cream.
That’s the power of Miley Cyrus. The librarian took the CD they handed her, found the track they wanted, and away they went. They’d even made up choreography. Or maybe they hadn’t, maybe they were mimicking choreography one of them saw on the Disney Channel, but since we don’t have the Disney Channel, I don’t know that, and let me tell you, a choreographed dance is that much more meaningful to a parent if you think your own child came up with the moves.
The song they sang was “This is the Life,” which until the moment they opened up their mouths, I would have considered a prime throw-away bit of bubble gum pop.
The chorus goes like this:
This is the life! Hold on tight!
And this is the dream
It’s all I need!
You never know where you’ll find it
And I’m gonna take my time, yeah
I’m still getting it right
This is the life
Elder Girleen stood up on the stage and sang her heart out, and what was pablum magically became profound, at least for about two minutes.
This is the life.
Hold on tight.