This is how I will always remember Michael best. I think he’ll be remembered similarly to Elvis ~ Sure he changed a lot and became something else over time, but in my memory Michael at his peak never faded. I know everyone is going to be writing about Michael Jackson. I know it’s going to be happening all year, and we’re going to see a million unauthorized autobiographies come out. I guess I just want to take a moment to remember the ten ways I’ll remember him. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad.
It’s strange to look at someone’s life that I thought about nearly as much as my own. It’s bizarre because I’ve been thinking about him a lot this year. I don’t really know why, but he’s been on my mind quite a bit. I got sort of obsessed actually, and was intent on writing some gigantic article. I have to admit that it would have been quite different than the one I’m putting down today. It’s just that ~ he was very much a part of my childhood. He was at his height when I was finding heroes, and he became one of those people I wanted to emulate. Then later on when he fell from grace and became human it was hard to remember what I had found in him that was so important to begin with. It goes without saying that he cared about humanity and his fans. That I do know and have always seen. What follows are the 10 most memorable moments in my life with Michael Jackson.
10. The first CD I ever bought was HIStory at CD Depot. I was at the store, and I remember being ultra excited to finally own one of my own. I never let that CD set out of my sight, and I listened to it nonstop for years until they were so scratched I couldn’t go a beat without hearing a skip.
9. Watching Carlton do a spot on Michael Jackson after really believing he couldn’t dance.
8. Getting to see one of those awesome red jackets from Thriller up close. It wasn’t Michael’s ~ it was just someone who had bought a knock off. But I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
7. Watching MJ’s transformation video. I caught “the transformation” once awhile back, but it wasn’t until this year that I got into it. Which is to say that I just got wrapped up in how much he had changed over the years. I started reading blogs about it, and looking at what he was supposed to look like if he hadn’t gotten so much surgery. It didn’t end with Michael either. I started getting into botched celebrity surgery in general and it became a real problem. After a few months I just had to put it away because I just didn’t see things right anymore.
6. Watching “Childhood” on repeat a few hundred times. At first I really loved this video. The message seemed really clear to me. Michael missed out on his childhood, people were honestly confused about him, and the video always made me nostalgic for my own. Later on it grew to have a completely different meaning in my mind, and it seemed more like a confession wrapped in lyrics.
5. Finding out about Michael’s first run in with the law. It was pretty hard to get my mind around it. The debacle came at a time when I was already pretty disillusioned with Pee Wee Herman, and that alone had bummed me out pretty bad. This was the fall from grace that pretty much jaded Michael in my mind for the rest of my life.
4. The hype around the music video Scream was palpable. I waited weeks for this thing to come out, and was glued to the news trying to get a clue what the hell it was about. All I kept on hearing about was how expensive it was, and how important it could be. It felt like those two hour delay snow days where instead of enjoying the time I had I would spend it watching to see if we’d get a four hour delay. Then if we did I would continue to stare until they told me school was closed due to weather conditions. When the video finally was unveiled I was mesmerized.
3. Watching Thriller for the first time on MTV in Puerto Rico around midnight on an old busted up couch. I remember being so scared I literally jumped behind the couch for cover when he became Zombie Michael.
2. Desperately trying to learn how to Moonwalk after I watched Moonwalker. I think it was at Carlos Santiago’s house when I first attempted to dance like him. Man I was (and continue to be) a piss poor dancer. These two videos below were the parts that I rewinded and played until the tapes were barely watchable. They weren’t even mine. Carlos, I owe you a couple of new VHS tapes.
2. Captain EO in 3D at DisneyWorld. Man for everyone who missed out on this spectacle I am sorry. I remember coming out of the theater after having watched it and thinking it was the most technologically advanced film I had ever seen in my life. I mean (WTF) Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas made this happen?!
It just wouldn’t be appropriate if I didn’t add a Family Guy clip in.
1. Watching Bad and Fat back to back. I loved the music video to Bad, and really wanted to be the guy who rolled up the garage door. Then when Weird Al Yankovic came out with Fat it gave a whole new dimension to parody videos. I used to take out a roll of Chocolate Chip cookies, and let the good times roll for nights at a time. Strangely enough I started this ritual in Junior year of high school when Jamie, a fellow poptenner, got the Weird Al compilation on VHS. All I could embed for you was the long version of Bad because they seem to have disabled all the others… But if you haven’t seen the extended edition… it’s worth it just once.
After all is said and done you just can’t take away how much he meant to all of us. He was a unique genius. He may or may not have done terrible things. He was one of my childhood heroes nonetheless, and that is something I will never take away from him.