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Michael Jackson Never Can Say Goodbye

June 25, 2009

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But I’m afraid this time, you’ll have to, Mikey. 

Since no one is reading Part One of my short story, I thought I’d go ahead and share my feelings on a very mournful day for Hollywood and former pre-pubescents from the early 80’s.

Let me say this first:  I am sorry that news of  Farrah Fawcett’s death some five hours earlier has been overshadowed by the media overkill that is being given and will continue to be given to MJ’s death.     Farrah spent the last five years of her life living it in pain.    Cancer isn’t always a death sentence, but in reality, it often is.  

I’m sorry Farrah died.  I was by no means an ardent fan, despite her being a fellow Texan and I was way too heterosexual to find her anything other than a pretty young woman.   Even so,  I think when she got sick, she was strong as long as she could be and put up a worthy fight  against this malignant  nemesis.    True, having fame and money helps;  it supplies the troops and ammo needed to fight the battle, but all the money in the world can’t reanimate a body horribly, viciously ravaged by cancer.   

Death is often the only reprieve when that’s the case and today, Farrah Fawcett finally found hers.

But Michael?  His death is preliminarily being blamed on massive heart attack.   But there’s something about the oddness in his life that kind of makes you think dying in the way he did could be the ONLY way to add final punctuation to his life sentence.

I first became aware of this small, talented nubian male child in the late 60’s.   The Jackson Five’s first chart topper, “A-B-C”, served as  my first introduction to their music.    A few years later, in the fall of 1971 when I was 12-years old, I had matured enough to associate some emotion with his songs, namely  “Got To Be There” and “Ben”.     Then, by the spring of 1973, as I was finishing up my eighth grade year and preparing for  my Freshman year in High School, I forgot all about Michael Jackson. 

That is, until early 1980 when I was finishing up college in Austin, Texas.  I remember eating eggrolls on the floor of the apartment of a gay couple with whom I’d been friends.   The radio was on and as as the Top 5 Countdown started counting down, the number 5 song that night was MJ’s newest single,   “Rock With You”. 

That song started his meteoric second career rise and he was untouchable…until he started allegedly touching a lot of young boys in inappropriate ways in the early 90’s.   

His fate was sealed then.   His career took a slam and really, would never recover.   He started hemorraging money and when that happens, “friends” can rarely be found.    He fought off lawsuit after lawsuit and reacted accordingly by getting new noses, new cheeks,  lips, holding his oddly named baby off the railing of a balcony in Germany, speaking with a soft voice that sounded like he’d been a lifelong  member of Castrotti and of course,  blaming vitiligo for his ever increasing mellanin decreasing.

That, my friends, is called a ‘deep end” and Michael Jackson went off of it with a two mile running start.

It was said he had kept the Elephant Man’s bones in his home;  he had a chimp/love interest named Bubbles.  He slept in a hyperbaric chamber, married Lisa Marie Presley in one of the oddest pairings since vodka and iced tea and he had an unusal penchant for children.

Where did this odd behavior come from?    

I’m thinking Papa Joe Jackson.   I met a friend for cocktails earlier today.  We’d just heard the news that Michael (who by the way, at 50 was just a few months older than me) had just died of an apparent heart attack.   My friend  insisted that Michael’s slick and hip dance moves were actually learned much earlier in life, when Michael was a child.    Those slides and whirls and twirls and moonwalking were actually things he learned to dodge Joe Jackson’s belt in one of the crazed bastard’s ritual “ass whoopins”.  

I think Pater and Mater Jackson knew their talented kids could get them out and keep them out of all those “hard times” in Gary, Indiana.    It’s been said that Joe was  exacting and a task master and probably secretly (and maybe not so secretly)  resented his sons – Michael in particular, for achieving more in his young life than Joe had in all his years on Earth. 

What you’re about to read is no great globe shattering treatise on Michael’s life or psychopathy and what I’m about to impart has probably been said before, but personally, I don’t think Michael was a pedophile.  At least, I doubt that was his initial intention.    Now, wait a minute—before you order the tar and feathers, permit me to explain.

I think Michael was robbed of his childhood.  He was just eight when he started fronting the band with his four other brothers.   How many eight-year-olds do you know who have full time jobs, travel all over the world, apepar on Sullivan, Carson, are  interviewed by Mike Douglas AND have a huge fan base of pudgy, acne faced pre-teens screeching their names?   As a child, Michael was forced into having a particular priority that he didn’t want and perhaps, never understood:  to help make the Family Jackson more financially solvent.    Think about it:  that’s a hell of a lot of responsibility for a child and a young Black child in particular, who was entering the Anglo dominated world of entertainment just as the water from the high pressure  fire hoses in Selma and Birmingham were just starting to dry out.  

Michael was surrounded by adults on an almost continuous basis.   Record mogels, sound engineers, agents.   He probably got to play some with his brothers while on tour but keep in mind, they were several years older.   

The truth is, Michael wasn’t allowed to be a kid.  He grew up physically,  but not emotionally and when he had so much  discretionary income, he made every attempt to experience a childhood he never got to have.  

I submit for your perusal:  Neverland Ranch with it’s llamas and Ferris Wheels, carousels, roller coasters and whatever else Disney was no longer using in California or Florida.    I think he looked in the mirror and was confused by what he saw versus how he felt. 

I have no idea what really happened inside Mike’s Neverland manse.   I’ve heard all about the “Jesus Juice” and other things  he’s accused of using to ply these young boys into submission.   And if anything ever happened, I’ll be the first to publicly admit these actions are completely despicable,  not to mention, illegal and unforgivable.    I’m not excusing his actions, I’m merely examining possible explanations as to what might have prompted all of his odd behavior.  

In closing, Michael Jackson lived as he died – in the spotlight.   But it’s more of a spotlight still burning from the past.  In the early 80’s, he was a god.   Worshipped by throngs were mere days away from seeing his image on a flour tortilla.  He had money beyond the dreams of Avarice, but as with Farrah Fawcett, money can only buy so much.    

Michael experienced it all;  tThere were triumphs and disappointments, gossip and innuendo, facts and fiction,  drugs and sobriety, happiness and sorrow.   He was a lonely man in a sea of humanity.   He wanted love and despite the faceless minions who spent allowances on albums and CDs,  he never really found it.  How sad and unffulfilled he must have felt.  He could have bought and paid for the world, many times over and really, all he wanted was a little part of it to call his own.   It’s ironic that he literally died from a broken heart…whether it was drug induced or not;  death comes when the heart ceases.

But irony knows celebrity, though.   It knows it well. 

In fact, it was there when 50’s screen legend, James Dean ended his fast living life behind the wheel of an even faster car.

It was there when comedian,  Sam Kinison, having just achieved three months of sobriety, was driving his Trans-Am on a Nevada highway in 1992.  That when an extremely drunk teenager hit Kinison’s car with his truck and killed the funny man.    Just as Sam was getting a grip on the demons of addiction that plagued him, he was killed at the hands of someone who was carelessly indulging in his own.

RIP,  across the board.

For those who might be interested in Chapter 2 of my short story,  it’ll be published Sunday night.   I promise the story gets better.  

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Blanche permalink
    June 26, 2009 2:23 am

    Tragedy comes in threes: first Ed, then Farrah, now Michael. My sympathy to their families.

    -Blanche

  2. June 26, 2009 11:20 am

    I can’t mourn MJ now. Although I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, as far as I’m concerned he died years ago. I mourned it all then. And I’m reading – I’m just waiting for further installments 😉

  3. June 26, 2009 12:05 pm

    It’s such a sad thing… his life, I mean, although I find myself feeling nostalgic and sad in his death as well.

    I think you are on the mark in terms of his oddities being a result of such a demanding and watched childhood and life. He was a victim of superstardom, no doubt. I’ve been watching press on his life and can’t help but feel sorry for him.

    Farrah’s passing was also sad but different… there’s inspiration there. She didn’t win but she fought damn hard. To put herself in front of the camera during that struggle against anal cancer was extremely courageous, especially given her sexy bombshell image.

    Waiting on installment 2 🙂

  4. June 26, 2009 12:54 pm

    Like you, I was deep into my teen/youg man years when Michael took the world as his own. As many have stated, his life seemed to be full of an emptiness he couldn’t quell. Such a shame to live life that way.

    Michael’s passing was sudden, yes, but I’ve been apalled by the absolute lack of any substantial mention of Farrah’s passing. She deserved far better than what she’s got.

    And no, I didn’t have the poster. ;^)

  5. Blanche permalink
    June 26, 2009 2:57 pm

    My husband had her poster and it’s still around here somewhere. I, too, am appalled by the lack of news coverage of her death. She lost a battle on earth but won a seat in heaven. She’s with her sister and her mother now. Such a beautiful person. What’s going to happen to Redmond?

    .

    Not only that Sister Dear, by Michael’s personal physician…the one who gave him all the drugs and the one who unsuccessfuly tried to revive him, is from Houston.

    Oh, isn’t THAT rich???

    Dallas killed the Prince of Camelot and Houston has killed the King of Pop.

    One would think the Lone Star state has absolutely no respect for royalty.

    LK

  6. June 26, 2009 6:59 pm

    J.W has a good point. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Anyone who knew about Farrah Fawcett’s condition knew the end was very near and just as it came Jackson roared up and overshadowed her.

  7. smalltownsmalltimes permalink
    June 27, 2009 10:18 am

    I’m glad you wrote this out loud. I felt sorry for Ryan ONeal and his sad, bloated face. This was the day to remember his beloved, to bask in the warmth of media that would do nothing but celebrate her life and blonde hair. Instead, he got totally pimped.

    But I’ll miss Michael, too. Dammit.

  8. Luther McLeod permalink
    June 28, 2009 5:54 pm

    I was too old to appreciate the MJ phenomena fully, or even partially really. But I think you’ve been pretty insightful here LK. He held the world in his hands… but when he tried to grasp it tight, it slipped through his fingers.

    And I did too read chapter one and I’m glad you changed your mind about chapter two.

  9. Sarah permalink
    June 29, 2009 12:19 pm

    Your talents are so far-reaching. This write-up on MJ was superb; it could and should have been printed in the WSJ. (My husband is an avid reader and often circles articles for me to read; he would’ve circled THIS one.) Anyway, you have such a way of seeing both the forest AND the trees… You’re also writing really good fiction; there are SEVERAL books in you, Miss Laurie — of many diffrent genres! PS LOVE the new site.

  10. Blanche permalink
    June 29, 2009 6:22 pm

    and now Billy Mays. What a sad June, 2009 for celecbrities.

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