Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ode to Jacko

It’s my turn to write about Michael Jackson. I’ve been thinking so much about him lately, so why not? I cried when I found out he was actually dead (after all of the TMZ and Facebook chatter, is he or isn’t he, type stuff). Just a little, but I still cried. I don’t quite know why. Loss of life is always sad, thinking of his family, his brothers and sisters, of his kids. Remembering him from my childhood, feeling old myself, thinking how sad his true fans must feel. And then I thought back to all of the times in my life that were filled with Jacko. Here’s a list of random memories:

-When the video for Thriller came out, I was so excited-- overly excited-- sick to my stomach if I couldn’t see the full, extended version excited. I watched the video every single time it came on, loved the mix of costumes, great story, fantastic dancing, the song, and Vincent Price’s laugh.

-My friend, Beth, needed a belt for a school play, and all the store had was stretchy belts with Michael Jackson’s face on the buckle. This was in ’85, past the Thriller hype, so she covered the face with a rainbow sticker.

-I ate up every one of his videos because of the dancing, even when I was in junior high and too cool to be into him (I was getting into my “alternative” era, as they called bands like U2, The Church, INXS, and REM in those days.). “Smooth Criminal” was my favorite.

-In health class my junior year of high school, we had to practice CPR on a dummy whose name happened to be Annie. Every person had to shake the doll and say, “Annie, are you OK?” Smooth Criminal! I laughed every time and couldn’t get the song out of my head for days.

-At a house party in college they played “Wanna Be Starting Something,” and I couldn’t help but dance, and seeing everyone else dance, and thought, how cool that all of the hipsters and hippies are all loving this song?

-Somewhat recently, maybe three years ago, Matt, my sister and I went to one of those instant warehouse Halloween stores that pops up for a month or so and then disappears (this one never to return, which is a bummer because it was so huge). The store was packed, the weekend before Halloween, and “Thriller” came out of the ceiling. The whole store started dancing. Little bits at first, and then you could just see it. How that song made everyone groove uncontrollably.

-Most recently I was driving to work at seven in the morning, late spring, when it started to snow. Usually snow that time of year is insanely frustrating because it’s just time for it to go away, but as I drove, “Man in the Mirror” came on my iPod (for some reason that’s the only Michael Jackson song I have on my iPod, even thought it’s not my favorite). The snowflakes were falling in slow motion, and that beautiful song played. It made me cry.

I think I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and buy a copy of Thriller on CD. My cassette disappeared a long time ago with all of my parachute pants and crispy jackets. As wacko as Michael Jackson was for a good chunk of his adult life, and who doesn’t love a good freak show, he affected me, as I know he did others, with his music, style, and dance. I can’t wait to dance around my house with Romy when Thriller arrives. R.I.P MJ.

PS The Get Well Soon Audiobook Contest ends tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I remember buying the Thriller album when it came out and thought it was cool that MJ was posing with the white tiger cubs.

I loved the dancing in the Smooth Criminal video.