There isn't much that I can write about the King of Pop that you could not think for yourself or read somewhere else. There isn't anything more that I could or even develop into something even slightly interesting that hasn't already said. For the last couple of days I’ve been thinking of Michael knowing that my life will not change one iota because of his death but realizing that my life has in a small way already been changed or at least been affected by him being alive.
I remember the first time I saw the Jackson 5 back in '69 on the old black and white. Some people with more significant lives will tell you about chasing or running from the VC in 'Nam, but I will tell you about looking up at a boy not much older than myself and wondering why I couldn't be as magnificent as he seemed to be. The Jackson 5 were and Michael was magic and they knew it and they knew I knew it too.
I think I’ve said in this blog before that both Michael Jackson and I share the same birthday. It’s a line that I use to show how I really hip and cool I am and I want people to remember me by stating something that’s different from whatever else they may have heard. Of course using a phrase like “hip and cool” only shows how much I really am not but I have always tried to ride MJ’s coat tails by showing people the similarities between us. Although undoubtedly we have a few differences.
I am or was just a few years younger than Mr. Jackson so that was one difference and another minor one would be the talent thing. I know that I have no talent because some years ago for some strange reason I was watching with my mother, Barbara Walters or somebody interview Michael Jackson. My mother said to herself something like “such talent.” Then she turned towards me and said the word “if”, lowered her eyes and let the smile fall from her face. I swore to myself then, perhaps not with words but at least pictures, I would hate Michael Jackson and everything that he stood for, for the rest of my life and maybe a little more beyond it.
It goes without saying that I never could hate Michael anymore that I could hate my left shoulder when it clicks and hurts me when I raise my arm. Like my shoulder he has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.
I remember when I started to grow an afro because he had one. I remember the choice of clothes and the platforms that I wore were because of him. I remember posting the bedroom walls with pictures of him and his brothers that I tore out of the teeny bopper magazines. In fact the only thing that I did before he did was to catch my hair on fire, and at least I did it without getting third degree burns. I supported him when he did his Thriller album when early on, black people were thinking that MJ’s music was too pop, which is a euphemism for being too white, but I was there. I never bought the album of course; there was no need to go over the top. I was there in spirit.
I was also there in spirit during the cosmetic surgeries that made him look like another version of the Joker. I was there during the Martin Bashir interview and I realized my idol from yesteryear had either gone berserk or had never developed an adult thinking brain and my heart and my stomach fell. But I was there. I think I will be there when he is finally laid to rest. Not the memorial/spectacle "Joe Jackson somehow it’ll make money" money scheme they intend to put on in Los Angeles for him, but the one where everyone realizes that it’s all over, and then like the line that keeps going on and on in my head,
“I'll be there, I'll be there,
just call my name, I'll be there....”