I ended my last column by noting that Michael Jackson had died.
Not that anyone needed any reminding because, unless you happened to be a real life version of Tom Hanks in “Cast Away,” there was no way you were going to avoid the (endlessly) repeated announcements of his death.
Still, I’m going to raise this topic one last time and, then, I promise to shut up about it forever.
Michael Jackson’s gone.
I’ve digested the news and have found that I don’t need grief counseling, hand-holding, or support groups. Neither do I feel the need to send flowers or light candles nor will I begin wearing mourning bands or somber clothing.
Further, I’m not looking forward to any television specials, reports on the upcoming fight over his estate, details on the custody battle over his children, reviews on who and how many attended his memorial service, what they wore, what he wore, the color and cost of his casket, who said what, where they sat, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
In fact, for me, It long ago reached the point that when I hear the words “Michael Jackson” on television, I get up and head out into my yard to check on the progress of my (as my granddaughter refers to it) tomato jungle.
Note: If a little bit of Miracle-Gro is good for these plants, I figured that a lot had to be better. My tomato plants seem to agree.
Apparently, the books on his life are already starting to hit the shelves and I’m willing to bet that the imitators can’t be far behind.
I’ll be skipping those too.
I know that I’m probably an outlier here and that there are millions of people worldwide who are saddened by his passage. I also know that any fans of his who read this will probably think of me as being insensitive, hard-hearted, unsympathetic, and unfeeling to boot.
Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been painted with those brushes. However, in my defense, I offer the following:
Am I saddened by his death? Yes, but only in the same sense as when I read about any other person who’s died ahead of their time.
Was he talented? Yep.
Did he have a lot of fans? Obviously.
Will there be another like him? Probably not.
His ability to sing, dance, and entertain were world class and marked him as a “superstar.” Unfortunately, that label also extended to his ability to repel us with his personal behavior.
I liked several of his songs, but cringed at his transformation from the early Michael Jackson to the look of whatever it was he’d become with the help of silicone and modern medical science.
I watched one or two of his videos and understood that he was probably the best at what he did, but any interest in him or his ability was extinguished by all of the allegations - and his weird explanations - regarding his behavior around young boys. Such behavior permanently relegated him to my “the less I see or hear bout him, the better” category of entertainers.
Minor aside: The video of him hanging his child out over a balcony railing also cemented, for me, the notion that he was also a few feathers short of a duck. It also had me wondering why he hadn’t been arrested for that stunt.
He had all of the money and fame anyone could want. He had cars and an estate. He could go anywhere and do, virtually, any thing. He was sought after and copied. In short, he had everything that many, these days, lust after.
He had everything except, apparently, a comfort inside his own skin. He had everything except, apparently, the ability to sleep peacefully. He had everything except, apparently, a simple satisfaction with his work and his life.
Which is, in fact, sad when we see that in anyone.
So, yes, I understand that Michael Jackson didn’t get his appointed three score and ten. And, yes, I hope that his family and fans get through the ordeal as best as they can. However, I’ve already read and heard all that I need to know.
Michael Jackson is gone and, despite that, there’s still one thing of which I’m sure.