I love you. My family adores your songs. When I was eleven, my brother, Fred, acquired “Off the Deep End” on a cassette tape. We listened to it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. “Trigger Happy” was indelibly etched into my memory. I know it better than my ABCs. Years later, Fred asked me, “Whatever happened to that Weird Al tape?”
My dad happened to be in the room and he said, “I had a Weird Al tape once.”
Fred and I were both shocked, “That was your tape?” Apparently, my dad, now in his seventies, is also a fan. Not that I’m surprised. You’re awesome.
You dropped off my radar completely during my teen years. Then, at twenty, I was hanging out with a young man named John in a restaurant in downtown Seattle. It must have been around 2 in the morning, and John got excited talking about your songs. Then he blurted out, “When I grow up I want to be just like Weird Al.”
My very next thought was, “My future husband wants to be just like Weird Al?” This thought stunned me because I didn’t find John attractive. He had red hair, freckles, glasses, and a geeky personality that I wasn’t really into at the time. Other than his impeccable taste in accordion playing song parody artists, he wasn’t my type. I decided that I was making too big of a deal out of a meaningless thought and I should really just forget about it. Two years later I married John, making that meaningless thought completely true. And I would like to report that being married to a Weird Al wannabe is really fun. Go figure.
Ten years passed, and we had three beautiful children. We resisted the urge to name them Al, Nathaniel, or Superfly and instead, named them Josiah, Daisy, and Jonah. We listened to almost all of your songs on every road trip. One day, my husband shared one of your songs and the accompanying music video. The song was “I Love My Pancreas.” Since it was so catchy we started singing it all the time. It was all good fun until my oldest child, Josiah, who was seven years old at the time, developed a curious symptom. He had to pee all day long. I mean, ALL the time. He peed fifteen times in eight hours.
I made an appointment for him and the following Monday we sat in a Doctor’s office while a nurse checked his blood sugar. The meter read 469. Being a well-informed pancreatic expert, I’m sure you know that normal blood sugar is close to a hundred. I immediately knew that Josiah had Type 1 Diabetes. His pancreas was failing. And all of your song lyrics began playing in our heads.
We had several more appointments that week with doctors and dietitians. I began to read about diabetes and the pancreas for a couple of hours every day. All of a sudden I found myself extremely interested in insulin production, beta cells, glucagon, and the islets of Langerhans. Josiah, whose pancreas was under attack by his own immune system, now became extremely fond of this vital organ and began to sing “I Love My Pancreas” with wild enthusiasm. That song became a theme for our family.
Now, whenever I go to Josiah’s classroom to talk about diabetes—which I have to do every year—I play your song for his class. It makes something that was desperately serious and sad into something light-hearted and funny. And that’s why I’m writing; to say thank you. Diabetes sucks, but when you can sing about it and laugh at it, it loses some of its power. Because of you we all love our pancreases very much. We are forever grateful to you, our close and personal friend, for bringing us laughter on every road trip, and for giving our eldest son his own theme song.
` Forever in your debt,
Heidi Kupitz and Family
P.S. I also noticed that the album “I Love My Pancreas” is on, “Straight Outta Lynwood”, now sells for over $1200. I must say it’s worth every penny, but it’s much cheaper on itunes.