In the Summer of 1983, my grandparents bought the biggest Winnebago there was and took seven of the grandchildren on a tour of the USA. We drove from Atlanta to Ventura to Jackson Hole to St. Louis to Atlanta, stopping along the way over the course of six weeks, and spending tons of time in Jackson, where my grandma was born, visiting family. "The Trip" is legend in my family. We cousins grew far closer because of that vacation together than we ever would have otherwise. If I remember correctly, the RV had a cassette player, a big deal in 1983. One of my cousins had just bought the Thriller tape before we left. We listened to that album repeatedly for six weeks. "Don't you kids want to listen to the radio?" "No, turn it over to side B, pleeeeeeeeeeease."
"Beat It" was our favorite song. Some of the hotels we stayed in (at times, sleeping nine people in an RV got to be too much) had MTV......we'd watch until the video for "Beat It" would come on and then roar with excitement.
In 1993, when I still saw the world in Black or White, I thought Michael Jackson was a child molester. In 2005, at the last trial, and after I watched the Martin Bashir interview, I felt that he was still a little boy...that he had been damaged when he was young, and that the evidence against him was all circumstantial. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. He was never convicted. While I wouldn't have let my kids go to Neverland, I still enjoyed his music, and he was a touchstone of my life. If I ever hear a song from Thriller, I can still see the black ink on cream plastic lettering on the cassette tape. My wife had the inside poster from Thriller on her wall, and she was in love with him. Her Barbie married her Michael Jackson doll, not Ken. I so desperately wanted a red jacket, though you couldn't have gotten me to wear just one sequined glove. Had my parents let me, I have short, curly, woolly, kinky hair, and I would've done geri-curl. I believe my father's exact words were, to a nine-year-old boy, "Hell no, son."
Michael Jackson was the biggest icon of the 1980s. Bigger than Madonna. Bigger than Bill Cosby. Bigger than all of them combined. He was, the King.
He's an inextricable part of most people of my generation's lives. He's one of the best singers we've ever had, especially in pop, and well, because his music is such a big part of my life, to paraphrase him, he's just another part of me.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
How do you know that the drugs are messing with you? When you try to go to sleep at 1AM, but as soon as you lie down, you become obsessed with the idea of baking a cake. So you think to yourself, "Self, you're going the distance, you're going for sleep, but you're all alone, all alone, all alone in a time of need." So you plot your course to sleep, but you can't find it. You daydream of driving, in the car, but that makes your baby seem so far; you try and count sheep but they just go to hell...all the while there's this Frank Sinatra song playing on the radio in your head. And Sleep, that old friend, you're never there...in fact, friend, that's a four-letter word. And, the longer you lie there, the more the cake seems to be calling you. You're not even really a cake fan, nor have you ever baked one without a female overseer, but at 2:00AM you realize that the cake is calling and it's not going to go away until you yield to it, but that you really also love it madly.........so, I just made a cake, and I'm wide awake in America at 2:46AM EDT; I will survive, yeah, yeah.