[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-0TEJMJOhk?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

After the show, we rode the non-scary rides and took a photo with our arms around a cardboard cut-out of Alf; please note that I am wearing a hand-me-down lilac jumper and my mom’s giant digital watch. As we headed towards the exit, my dad said “hey” to someone. (My dad is not Mister Social; my mother was the schmoozer. Once she said hi to someone on the street and my dad asked who it was. “Oh, just someone I went to camp with,” she said. It was Woody Allen.) “Who was that?” we demanded. “Weird Al,” dad answered. We set off on a chase, until my mom cornered the man in a Hawaiian shirt, nerd glasses, curly hair. “Are you?” she asked. “Am I who?” the man said. It was HIM. We told him how much we loved him and how we knew every single one of his songs and how we watched “The Compleat Al” at least once a week. My mom shoved me gently. “Sing him your songs,” she said.

I had started writing parodies as soon as I learned about the concept. I was regularly tormented by girls in third grade who told me I looked like a boy and was the ugliest girl in the class, so I made parodies of the songs they loved the most—everything by Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and the New Kids on the Block. Sometimes my mom would help; I’d come home and cry and then she’d ask what songs the popular girls liked and we’d sit down and write parodies.

I stared at the ground because I was afraid of locking eyes with Weird Al and sang my parody of “Stand By Me,” called “Stand By Please,” which was about calling customer service. Weird Al said my songs were good and shook my hand and I vowed I would never wash it again, but I think my mom made me take a bath the next day. I tried to keep that hand out of the water but it was really tough.

At the Awl, Bex Schwartz has an essay about her 28-year obsession with parodist Weird Al Yankovic, whom she met at an amusement park concert when she was seven, and again, last week at her office, where she is a creative director for TeenNick.

Read the story