Friday, June 26, 2009

Do you remember the time?

Well, I am going to do something I almost never do on this blog: talk about a celebrity and a current event. I don't talk about celebrities much because I'm not really a celeb lover, and I don't talk about current events because that's not really what this blog is for.

But Michael Jackson! How could I not talk about him?

Actually, it would be really easy for me not to talk about him and his death. I was never a big fan--he had some songs I liked and that was about it. And I've spent the past 15 years or so just shaking my head every time he popped up on the news. He was a very sad, very damaged, very sick guy.

However. When you're in those years when you're really starting to notice the world and make all those memories that shape the rest of your life--say ages 10-20?--the things that happen in those years almost become part of your DNA. And Michael Jackson was happening in those years of my life. You couldn't get away from him, he was absolutely everywhere, especially when Thriller was out. It's hard to explain to someone who wasn't there how pervasive his face and his music were. Life in the 80's wasn't like life today, where everyone has their own little obscure bands they listen to that only 10 other people have ever heard of. Even if you weren't really a fan, if you listened to the radio at all, you listened to Michael Jackson.

So I think that when someone like that dies, part of the shock or grief or whatever it is that people feel has less to do with that specific person, and maybe more to do with how that person made them feel, the memories associated with them, the feeling of who you were when their music was playing in the background of your life. Part of the mourning is a mourning for that time and who you were then.

You shared planet time with an extraordinarily talented person, and now he's gone and you're still here. Which also feels weird and unsettling
, and maybe worthy of taking a minute or two to ponder.

I turned on the news for about five minutes but no one was talking about anything beyond speculation--what happens to his money? to his kids?--so I started channel-flipping and landed on MTV, which is showing his videos all night long (extremely fitting, since he almost singlehandedly put MTV on the map.) Now I'm just sitting here and blogging and doing some crossword puzzles before bed, and enjoying the music and memories. Feels nice.