Glorious Grandma

A Music Artist Pays Homage in an Unexpected Way


Pop tunes can be many things. They usually try to be catchy, and some of the better ones will make you smile at their cleverness. However, it’s rare that pop music crosses over from everyday fun into the realm of truly inspiring. Yet that’s precisely the case with Macklemore’s “Glorious” and the popular music video he created for it, which has 88 million views as of this printing.

Born Benjamin Hammon Haggerty in Seattle, rapper Macklemore has had an impressive array of hits to date. What makes the music video for “Glorious” so splendid is that it’s a real-life record of Macklemore surprising his grandmother on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Before they kick off the day’s shenanigans, Macklemore announces to his grandmother that the day will be all about her and that she can do anything she wants. What follows is a fun and breezy adventure with two kindred souls delighting in each other’s company. Differences in their age just melt away as they relax in their mutual joy. They are goofy and laid back just like two kids playing hooky from school. Yet there’s no sugary sentimentality or elaborately staged scenarios. It’s just Macklemore and his grandmother Helen having the time of their lives.

As the day kicks off, we see how much Macklemore and Grandma Helen have in common. Like her grandson, she has a flair for the theatrical as well as a strong prankster streak. They both obviously get a kick out of their vehicle for the day—a vintage convertible from the Golden Age of American motoring. Off they speed with the top down. As they drive around town, their smiles are joyful. They lean back and feel the breeze on their faces.

Along the way, Helen decides she’d like to be bad, really bad, so they stop for the ultimate of high school pranks—nothing less than a spot of egging (as it turns out, it’s her daughter’s house that is the target). Now that they’ve got the “criminality” out of their systems, they head off for some shopping. Their destination is a sneaker store, where they each pick out a snazzy new pair of shoes. Just to jazz things up a bit, Macklemore and his grandmother next decide to spring for some rockin’ new outfits, so they prance around a thrift store, trying on the most outrageous get-ups they can find. It’s hard to say who has the funkiest dress sense, but it’s a pretty close contest. Once back home, Helen is surprised by three of her friends. However, the craziness isn’t over yet, for there’s a lap dance from a muscle-y firefighter as a special treat. This birthday gal certainly lives up to her promise: “God, I want to do it all!”

There’s a lesson here. It’s not just about Macklemore and Grandma Helen. It’s about seizing the day, not just using our time to accomplish tasks, wading through our to-do list, or getting in some TV time. When was the last time you or loved one simply declared: “Let’s do whatever we want”? Don’t wait until a special birthday. Give it a shot next Wednesday, or two Saturdays from now, or indeed, do it today. You don’t need a holiday or other special occasion to let loose. Remember, it doesn’t have to fancy, expensive, or consist of anything too elaborate. It’s all in the attitude you bring to what you do. Just go buy a pair of sneakers or visit a video arcade. I’ve got a feeling that you’ll be glad you did. As Macklemore promises in the song, it’s going to be “Glorious”!

Seamus Mullarkey is a writer in New York City. He has the most glorious memories of both his grandmothers—both of whom had much exuberance for life.