Missing the Man in the Mirror
I woke up this morning, remembered that Michael Jackson is gone, and was struck by sadness. And I was surprised. When Princess Diana died, I barely gave it a second thought. Heath Ledger? Bummer. Farrah Fawcett? She fought the good fight. But Michael Jackson hasn’t been relevant for me in years. I’ve watched with horror and sadness at what a convoluted mess his life has become. I’ve watched with more horror and sadness as stars like Usher and Chris Brown have stolen MJ’s mojo.
But watching countless videos from his career last night, I remembered why he’s so special to me: Michael Jackson’s music is my childhood.
I still remember when my parents bought me Thriller. I remember opening the record and choreographing dance routines with my brother all over our house. The first concert I ever attended, at the ripe old age of 8, was Michael Jackson on his Bad tour. My dad took me and we sat in the noseblood seats of the arena behind a couple of teenage girls that were screaming their heads off and holding up a sign with their Jackson devotion. As I was only about a foot tall, it completely blocked my view, so my dad politely asked them to move their sign. He was greeted with a tirade of curses, some of which I had never heard before. Between the concert and my newfound words, it was a night for the record books.
Several years ago, I was on a cruise ship in China on the Yangtze River and there was a karaoke night. My brother and I dusted off our old dance moves and sang “Thriller,” (which is entirely too long to perform without backup dancers).
I would say that he’s too young to die, that Michael Jackson had more to accomplish, but I don’t know if I feel that way. He left us a hell of a legacy. It’s amazing to me that someone who delighted so many people with his music and positivity would seem to be such a sad, lonely, conflicted person. I just hope he can find some peace in that big Neverland Ranch in the sky.