The 25th Day (part 1)
It was the end of a long, long day for me. Fifteen hours ago, I walked out the door to start my day, a Sugar Free Red Bull in my right hand and my car keys in my left. I started my car and let it warm up while I put my windows down so that the cool morning air could flow through while I changed the station on the radio from Coast to Coast with George Nore to The World Famous Phil Hendrie Show. I logged my milage and snuck a quick peak at my Facebook page on my Blackberry, and then I pulled off.
When I got to the Red Cross in Norfolk, the parking lot was already filled with cars. I had to improvise to park, but I knew I’d be in and out in a flash. From there I drove to the Regional Hospital, where I delivered the blood to a grateful phlebotomist. Thirty minutes later I was at a nursing home, waiting on the staff as they frantically tried to gather their specimens so I could run them back to the Regional Hospital for processing.
From that point on, my day was chaotic. In my line of work, time management is everything, and if even one thing goes wrong and I get behind, I can count on a long, miserable day. Some time later, I heard on the radio that Farrah Faucett passed away. Tragic as it was, I knew it was coming soon. Still, it was a bummer.
At some point, I just said f**k it and plugged my mp3 player into the jack on my car stereo, set it on shuffle and let the rest of the day unfold. I wasn’t in the mood to hear everyone and their brother talk about how well they knew Farrah and how respected she was. Sometimes the best way to memorialize someone is to revel in your own memories. So when I unplugged the jack and tuned into the radio at 6:30 in the evening, as I was making my last call, the news stopped me in my tracks.
Michael Jackson was dead.
The 25th Day (part 2)
I felt uneasiness in my gut as I digested the news. Really? Michael Jackson? The Michael Jackson? It was unbelievable.
I let the news sink in as I walked into my last stop and took care of my business. When I got home, I wearily removed my tie and kicked off my shoes. I tossed my button up and slacks into the laundry basket and got in the shower, still thinking that there was a possibility that it was a mistake. Maybe TMZ got a bad tip, or perhaps it was a hoax.
When I got out of the shower, I got online and opened the AOL home page, and right on the front page was the news I was dreading. It was true, and a statement was about to be released from the Jackson family. That made it official.
I suppose that the unselfish thing to do at that point would have been to pray for his mother, his kids and even his dad and siblings. Instead, though, my thoughts turned to my own childhood. You see, I was just starting to become aware of my musical tastes at the time that Thriller was released. As a matter of fact, Thriller would eventually become the very first cassette that I would ever own. And Michael Jackson would soon become my first crush. He’d serenade me to sleep every night from late 1982 all the way through 1985, when my cassette player finally ate my tape.
I think I was about seven when my mom bought me an AM clock radio for my birthday so I’d let her toss my night light. The soft red glow from the LED display was an adequate replacement, and I couldn’t help but feel somehow like I was a much bigger kid because I had my own clock radio. Even better, my mom let me play the radio on low volume all night long.
Back then, the station I loved was KFRC out of San Francisco, 610 on the AM dial. It was a top 40 station, and in the early 1980s, it was as hot as any FM station in the area. When Thriller was released, most of its songs were played in heavy rotation on every station, and KFRC was no exception. It seemed like Michael Jackson ruled the airwaves, and other artists like The Pointer Sisters, Madonna, Duran Duran and Men at Work were fillers until the next track off of Thriller played.
Somewhere along the line, those days faded away. Michael Jackson released other albums, but the magic just wasn’t there. At least not for me. Over the years, other artists had huge impacts on my life, and it seemed like the wonder of the early 1980’s just dissapeared.
In 1993 I watched with great interest as Michael Jackson was accused of sexually molesting a boy. Sure, there was a payoff, but anyone who examines the facts of that accusation would learn that there was a demand for money from the boy’s father before it went public. Then he married Lisa Marie Preslie.
I can remember watching the video for You Are Not Alone, thinking that it was true love. It had to be, because I could see it on their faces. Unfortunately, it seems, I was wrong. They divorced shortly after. Then Michael married Debbie Rowe. I had very unflattering things to say about his bride, mainly because I thought she was only with him for the money, and because I thought he could do so much better.
I wasn’t too surprised when they divorced, and life went on. In 2002, he released Invinceable, and I was blown away. I loved that whole CD, but Butterflies was the most amazing song I’d heard in a long time. The notes that Michael hit were amazing, and I was sure he would go five or six times platinum, but it wasn’t in the cards for him. I felt bad for him because it was obvious that he’s poured his heart and soul into the project, but it went mostly unappreciated.
Then in 2003, a second allegation was brought againt him for child molestation, and he was charged by the same prosecutor that tried to get him back in 1993. It seemed so obvious to me that there was a vendetta, but at the same time, I had to question Michael’s wisdom. Why was he sleeping in bed with young children that weren’t his? Didn't he realize how it looked to others? To me it didn't look bad, but it certainly looked foolish. My best guess is that he had such a loving, trusting and carefree nature that he couldn’t imagine why anyone would object to something he saw as natural.
When he was exoneratted, I was relieved, but saddened because I knew that the man who still possessed the innocence of a child was scarred for life. He would no longer trust people; he would be reluctant to reach out to sick kids in need. He refused to return to Neverland because the police ransacked it and in the process, revealed some of his most personal secrets. It was so unnecessary.
So was his death. At 50 years old, he found himself surrounded by a group of enablers and I dare say sharks. Was he murdered? I would guess not, but I’ll always believe his death was due to negligence by an idiot doctor who doped him up. Then, when the time came that he needed urgent, life saving treatment, his doctor wasn’t even competent enough to properly administer CPR.
It does no good to dwell on things we can’t change. I know this.
But I can’t help but feel a little bitter. Bitter because when Michael Jackson passed away on the 25th day of June, the world said goodbye to its most famous celebrity and I said goodbye to my first crush, and the probably the most important piece of my childhood.
Practice Safe Sex
If you want to have sex, have sex. Please do it responsibly, though. Use a condom, get yourself and your partner tested, and only do what you feel comfortable doing. If you or your partner test positive for any venereal disease, get treated and wait to have sex until you know it's safe.
Welcome to my blog. Please bear in mind that while I try to maintain a certain level of decorum, this is my blog, and if you find something offensive about it, you're free to look elsewhere on the site. Also bear in mind that if I don't like your comment or opinion, should you choose to leave one, I'm free to delete what I want. Luckily, I care too much about free speech and open discussion to abuse my blog owner options in such a way. Still, I reserve the right to act in any manner I deem necessary to preserve the integrity of this space for all open minded, intellegent discussion.