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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Say What You Will. . .

. . .but I'm really sad that Michael Jackson is dead.

I remember where I was when Elvis died--driving down I-75 in Kentucky. We were on our way to Lake Cumberland. I can absolutely remember the stretch of road we were on when they announced it on the radio.

I remember where I was when President Reagan was shot--7th grade math class at Worthingway Middle School.

And I'll always remember that I was descending Vail pass on my way to Denver when Eamonn called to tell me that Michael Jackson was dead.

I had heard on NPR that Michael Jackson had received CPR at his home and rushed to the hospital so the call wasn't out of the blue, but to hear that he was actually dead was a little shocking.

For the remainder of the drive (which stretched to an epic three hours becasue of construction traffic--my tax dollars at work thanks to the ARRA--and bad weather--people seem to be flummoxed as to how to drive in the rain), I was able to tune into a Denver radio station that began playing Michael Jackson music non-stop.

I found myself tuning into every newscast and retrospective show to learn more.

And for the record, I feel bad for Farrah Fawcett that she totally got shortchanged because they both died the same day.

As a child of the 80s, Michael Jackson was huge in my life. Who didn't drive around town with one of his zillion top 10 hits blaring from their (parents') car radio? I'm certain that when I go to Ohio this summer, I'll still find plenty of Michael Jackson vinyl on the shelves in our old rooms.

When I've brought up Michael Jackson's untimely death to several people though, I have found them mostly unsympathetic. One even commented, "One less pedophile in the world is a good thing."

I have no idea if Michael Jackson was a pedophile or not. I saw news coverage of people who accused him of things, bizzare behavior at his trial, his strangely changing appearance. No doubt about it--he was one weird dude.

But really it all just makes me sad because he had such a bizzare life from the get go. Again, I really only know what the media feeds us, but it's not like he had a normal upbringing or family, and he was pretty much a prisoner of his own fame.

So I'm sitting here watching a Michael Jackson retrospective on VH1 and feeling nostalgic. Hilariously, I'm seeing many of these videos for the first time. We didn't have cable growing up so the only time I ever saw music videos was when I babysat for the Kriegers, who did have MTV. As soon as the kids were in bed I used to sit for hours watching videos (because that was back in the day when MTV actually showed music videos). And if the Kriegers were actually out of town and I was staying the night with the kids, I usually stayed up nearly the whole night getting my video fix.

Anyway, personally, watching the videos, either for the first time or the 50th, and listening to his music like I haven't in years, I'm reminded of his huge talent and musical genius. And it makes me sad for him and his family. And for me because frankly, a little of my youth died last Thursday, too.

9 comments:

Laura in Michigan said...

Me too. Michael Jackson meant I was growing up in the 80s. Everything was open to possibilities. I know the controversy and have speculated as well, but it still makes me sad.

Lucinda said...

Amen, sister. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Kristie said...

Natalie, you said it exactly how I wanted to say it. I overheard someone say yesterday, "I heard the cardiac arrest was brought on by some kind of poisoning ..." and someone else replied, "Who cares?" That comment made me sad, and a little angry. People are so freaking judgemental, and none of us will ever really know anything that happened, except that like you said, he never had much of a chance at a normal life.

jean said...

I was having dinner w/a friend @ Bob Evans, and her sister called to tell her about MJ. Regardless of how eccentric he became in his later years, you have to give him credit for his musical genius, and the contribution he made to pop music. Sad that his death overshadowed Farrah Fawcett's, but I'll bet Gov. Sanford (SC) is breathing a sigh of relief to have the spotlight taken off him...

You might want to think about selling that MJ vinyl that's still at your mom's house - might end up being enough to send the kids to college!

Alisa said...

You said exactly everything I felt.

1dreamr said...

I am *SO* with you on this - completely fed up with the cruel jokes and insensitive comments.

Anonymous said...

I feel the exact same way...strange? yes, but what a talent!
Meg...CT

Karen - Mommy to four sweeties said...

I totally agree with you. It is a sad situation.

When I hear his music it always takes me back in time to middle school and high school.

Missy said...

Yep. He was, I think, one of the single most talented performers we'll ever know. And no matter the media stories over the years, the world is a little dimmer today because we have lost his spark.

You said everything that I'm feeling perfectly. I can't really add more.