Friday, June 26, 2009

Thanks For Those Memories, Michael!

OK. We’ve had an interesting week so far folks. We’ve lost some quality entertainers and dealt with more political scandal. AND on top of that, Congress is in the midst of passing that UNAMERICAN energy act. I don’t know about y’all, but I really can’t afford a 90% increase in my power bill.

But I digress. Since everyone has been talking about it, I might as well put in my half-a-penny (I can’t give two cents because we are in the WORST FINANCIAL CRISIS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION --- or at least that is what the media keeps telling me).

With ALL DUE RESPECT to the family and friends of Michael Jackson, I would like to really give my opinions.

I first knew about Michael Jackson when I turned seven and we were living in Kansas. My next door neighbors included a 12 year old girl who was into just about everything that could be defined as “bubble gum pop” and most of all, The Jackson Five! I must have had to listen to ABC and I’ll Be There 50 times in one day. It was ok….but that 12 year old older woman made it worth while….. Thanks for those memories Michael!

When I lived in Korea and had just turned ten, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough was on the radio all the time. I got so tired of that one and Rock With You. But then my parents bought me the “Off The Wall” LP. That’s right. It was an album – NOT A CD! – And I really thought it was great. The title track was really cool. But the thing I remember most from it is the song, She’s Out Of My Life. The military dependant services ran a youth club and they had dances for teens and pre-teens. At ten, I looked old enough to get in. And it never failed that there was that one girl at the dance. Most guys can relate. She was my mystery girl. We never really had any conversation but when She’s Out Of My Life played, we ended up slow dancing together. She was slightly shorter than me with a Kate Jackson hairstyle. She wore these dressed that really flattered her. She was cute and she was mine… at least for one dance a night. Thanks for those memories, Michael!

When I moved to California and was in Junior High (That’s what they called middle schools back in the day), Thriller came out. Songs like Billie Jean, Beat it, The Girl Is Mine, PYT and ok course, Thriller, were on my stereo and on MTV (Back then MUSIC TELEVISION actually played music videos all the time). The Thriller video minimovie was really cool! Now I had started really getting into heavy metal back then. I normally listened to Iron Maiden, AC-DC, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Journey, Ronnie James Dio. But I kept my musical tastes varied. So when I heard that Eddie Van Halen was on the song Beat it, that blew me away. What a cool way to crossover styles and tastes. The R&B kids and the hard rockers really appreciated it. And yes, there is a girl story to this era as well. I really a few good friends that I hung out with but also had some kids I hung out with through the squadron my dad was in. When I was fourteen, I went to the movies to see Return of the Jedi with one of the young enlisted girls in the squadron. She had become a family friend. She was 19, cute and we had a great time listening to the Thriller album after the movie….and that is all I will say about that. Thanks for those memories Michael!

The album BAD came out right before I started college at USC. At this point, I really didn’t care about it. BUT…. My first day at USC was spent at Band Camp….AND THIS ONE TIME….just kidding. Band Camp at college was a week that is designed to see who is going to stick it out. Half the day was outside marching and learning drill in the hot August sun in the humidity center of the state, and the other half was indoors learning and playing music. And then there was the nighttime. PARTIES, PARTIES, PARTIES! They would end at about 1 or 2 am….but yours truly was a big man and was invincible! So the heck with sleep…. I wandered the campus looking for fun. About 2:30 I met up with a group just hanging out and met this really sweet girl name Angela. She was a knockout! Seriously, I thought she was way out of my league…and she was… But we struck up a conversation and I figured that having another friend was the worst thing that could happen. I was a freshman and she was a junior. We went back to her apartment to hang out. She was a HUGE MJ fan. She already had everything he had done on CD. They were still relatively new at that time but we listened to every CD…including Bad. I really didn’t care for most of it…. But I sure did listen to it just to be in her presence for a little while longer. I never saw her again…. Partly my fault because I never got her number and never tried to find her place again either. But that one night was awesome! Thanks for those memories, Michael!

I really can’t say much to MJ’s other stuff. I saw Captain Eo. Wasn’t that great for a guy with bad eyes. I DID pay some attention to his little sister, Janet!

So, yeah, Michael Jackson has some chapters in his life that most of us don’t know the full story to and probably shouldn’t at this point. He’s gone now and it really doesn’t matter.

You see, I can despise things that celebrities have done when they shouldn’t have done them. And like Pete Rose and O.J. Simpson, I can appreciate what Michael Jackson did that was worthwhile….especially what it meant to me.

Thanks for those memories, Michael! May you rest in peace.

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