Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tribute to Michael

"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."
Red, Shawshank Redemption

Ladies and Gentlemen, my stomach truly dropped today and an unanticipated wave of emotion came over me that I can't quite explain. Michael Jackson is dead. Even those words don't seem real. How can Michael Jackson die? He's Michael Jackson! We grew up with Mike, we watched him in awe, he inspired us, he motivated us, he entertained us, he moonwalked, he intrigued us, he made his own way, he had his own style, he defined cool, his influence was undeniably present in all of the Ushers and Ginuwines and NSyncs, etc. of the music industry, he was of us, be belonged to us, and most importantly he was loved by all of us. It is difficult to imagine any single person on the face of the Earth in our lifetime who has positively effected as many people as Michael Jackson. And with his passing, we are reminded again of just how precious life is.
Seeing the passing of Michael Jackson, somebody who was a household name for so many growing up, it makes me wonder what will be said about us hopefully many many many years from now when we depart from this Earth. We may never be as big as Mike, but I think that if we can just impact a fraction of the lives that this man did, we will have lived a pretty successful life by anybody's book.

Thus, in the spirit of remembering the man, the myth, and the legend that is Michael Jackson, I invite folks to share whatever memories stick out in your mind when you think about Mike. For me, it's easy: I'm in kindergarten or first grade and I'm
at home with my brother and two sisters at the time eagerly anticipating the appearance of Mike at the Grammy's. The buzz all day long at school had been that he was going to perform on TV that night so, naturally, we were glued to the set, all four of us sitting on our living room floor Indian style. And then it happened...I can hear the Billy Jean beat drop...MJ standing there with "The Glove"...then the cool stance that was so cool he had cool falling out of his pockets...the crowd of grown ass people in the audience screaming like little girls as they clapped along to the my brother and sisters screaming right along with them like we had no home training dad unable to shut any of us up...BOOM! - he goes in for the crotch grip and we instantly stand up and start to imitate him much to my dad's dismay...then he takes the hat and throws it off stage - classic!...and then it happened...the moment that would define our generation...The Moonwalk!!!! The 4 of us in front of the old Zenith: "Whoa!!!!" "Did he just?..." "Wow!" "Did you see that?!?!" "Mom, look-it look-it!!! You missed it!!!" The following day at school was visually inundated with elementary school kids all indiscriminately Moonwalking their way through the halls of school at any given moment. Moonwalk in line for lunch, Moonwalk in the line at the bus stop, Moonwalk in gym class, Moonwalk during silent reading time, Moonwalk at recess, Moonwalk during school couldn't stop us from Moonwalking. Life was never quite the same after that. And when "Beat It" dropped, if you didn't have a red Beat It jacket with all the zippers, you were instantly in the uncool crowd. However, little did we know, months later the opportunity to redeem yourself would come in the form of the Thriller Jacket for those whose parents weren't quick on the draw when the Beat It Jacket dropped. Those were the days.

So what do you remember about Mike?
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