Friday, June 26, 2009
I Didn't Think I'd Be This Sad
When I was a little kid, I was absolutely crazy insane for Michael Jackson. This probably isn't the most interesting or unique thing I've ever written on this blog; when I was a kid, everyone was crazy insane for Michael Jackson.
I hadn't discovered girls yet, and, perhaps more importantly, I wasn't old enough to look behind the curtain intellectually and question why it was that a grown man would hang out with a chimp and live in an amusement park. Like all kids, I lived on the surface of the world around me, and I was happier for it. I had a poster of him in my room and his officially licensed stickers on my Trapper Keeper. I bought the Thriller tape and literally wore it out, and so I had to buy it again. Years later, I bought the CD in college, and when I eventually lost that, I downloaded it on iTunes.
My grandmother died when I was in the fourth grade, and so I remember her just barely, more like snapshots than actual memories. She was tall and dangerously thin, and she was a quiet woman from the Midwest with cold hands. I was at her house in Council Bluffs, Iowa once, and I was watching Michael Jackson on television, probably a recap of some cheesy awards show on MTV. I explained to her who he was and told her in staggering detail why he was so incredibly awesome. I may have even used the word rad. She just sort of nodded her head and told me that that was very nice.
My birthday was a month or so later. I have no idea how old I was, however old second or third graders are, I guess. After my special dinner, my grandma presented me with perhaps the greatest birthday gift ever. She'd sewn me one sparkly, sequin glove, just like Michael Jackson's.
My parents were a little tentative about their young son prancing around Omaha, Nebraska in a sequin glove, and so they forbid me from wearing it to school or soccer practice. But I wore it everywhere else--everywhere else. I was the coolest little boy in the history of the world.
Michael Jackson has been reduced to little more than a punch line for the last 15 years. Deservedly so? Maybe, maybe not. But next time you're at a wedding or a graduation or any other party, whether you've been drinking or not drinking, pay attention to what happens when one of his songs comes on.
Michael Jackson, with one sparkly glove, I salute you.