Monday, August 10, 2009

MJ Death Blues

I'm working on it, ok?

I should first explain I am indeed an MJ fan. Stating that is quick sand and understandably so. He tried the patience out of all of us. However, I spent untold time and energy preserving who Michael Jackson was to me. Several years just didn't happen--like say, 1993, and almost completely from 2003 to 2009. I told Anne once that it is my God-given right as an American to turn MJ off the television. Any good fan should have....because it preserved him as a true wonderment. And maybe I'm mourning that wonderment now.

He was a true dancing, singing miracle in "Thriller". He was sexy but safe (thrusting pelvis aside) in "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Bad" -- the short and the full 18 minutes and "Beat It" -- showed sides of him we didn't know before. I was never that crazy about "Billie Jean" -- but I loved those white socks and loafers dancing down the lighted sidewalk floor. Then I remember watching the "Black and White" Panther version and thinking: I wish I could slap him. What the hell is he thinking? Apparently John Landis thought the same thing and it was re-edited without the violence at the end. Here, I thought--ok. He'll be ok. But no. It was vitiligo (not his fault of course, but it was ONE MORE THING). Then surgeries on the nose...and his discovery of the Lancome counter. Then the Beatles catalog (a shrewd business move, but McCartney was his FRIEND), then court and rehab...then Lisa Marie and are they or aren't they?...and then I don't know what else. I remember Anne trying to talk to me about the Bashir interview, which I never saw until after his death. I had just stopped looking. Michael Jackson reverted to that sexy but safe guy chasing the girl down the street. I'm no dummy. I know where to land my fantasies where they are safe and sound.

I stuck a toe in every so often, careful to guard my fantasy. And he didn't always make me run for my 1980's cover. I loved "In The Closet". I saw the "You Rock My World" video and the director's attempt at hiding MJ's face only distracted from his great dancing. I loved "Blood on the Dance Floor" and thought he looked absolutely great. But then that cover of Ebony? He did that on purpose! And that face on the mug shot from the 2005 trial? It was something created from fear and isolation...pain and illness. Way too much reality for me.

I heard about his appearances on music shows, read about his comings and goings. I knew he was alive and walking and talking somewhere or another. I heard he was a great dad. I, like everyone else, wanted to see pictures of his kids. But then I wondered how he could tell his children they had no mother....and oooppppps.....too close. Reel it in, boys....back to my man in "The Way You Make Me Feel." Phew. Thanks.

I grew up with the Jacksons and the Osmonds--me, Donny and MJ hit 50 within a year or so of each other. "Stop the Love" is one of my all time favorite songs and it was put on my iPod from day 1. I worked in disco radio back in the day and "Rock with You" was practically our theme song. I heard it 250 times a week.

So perhaps my problem stems from: exceptional bad timing and an incredibly well honed fantasy system that had MJ stuck in the 1980's disguised as a healthy, happy guy in his 20's. No illness, no trials, no identity issues, no (more) plastic surgery, no cosmetics.

Now I have been inundated with the misery and mystery of this human being that I froze in time. It's like I never knew him at all--which I didn't. (Yes, even my fantasy brain knows I don't know Michael Jackson AT ALL). So armed with all this new information, I want to understand because I'm sorry I didn't before. I know there will never, ever be another like him. For good or bad. And in the back drop, I will never, ever be a young girl watching a young boy and his brothers sing on tv, or a young woman working at a radio station with her life in front of her, or a young mother dancing with her little one to a Jackson 5 song.

Maybe I went to a place where what has gone before is more interesting than what lies ahead.

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