Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, RIP

I remember about 20 years ago Mrs. Chomper and I were sitting in a bookstore/coffeeshop with twirling ceiling fans overhead. We were drinking coffee and eating lollyberry pie and talking about this singing and dancing sensation, Michael Jackson. This was about the time he had recorded "Billy Jean" and "Beat It." I told Mrs. Chomper that I thought Michael Jackson would be another megastar in the tradition of Elvis and the Beatles. He was quite an extraordinary talent. What I didn't foresee, however, was how someone so troubled could shred his life in spite of his great talent.

In later years Jackson bought and paid for large amounts of plastic surgery that turned him from a handsome black man into a freakish pixie-like Queen, with white makeup like a Geisha and ruby red lips like some nightmare clown. Whereas I had liked the original Michael Jackson, I didn't like the gay painted pedophile that he later became. I always hoped that he would somehow reclaim some aspect of his original self. Alas, it was not to happen. Due to as yet unexplained causes, he died today of cardiac arrest. He was only fifty years old.

Everyone has their favorite Michael Jackson song that, when played, takes them back to a particular time and place. Mine was "Ben," sung by Michael when he was still a preadolescent member of the Jackson Five. Back when that song was popular, around 1971, I was divorced from my first wife and my two sons were living with her and my replacement, who turned out to be a drunk and a sadist. My sons lived in terror of him as he would fly into violent rages without warning. The song "Ben" reminded me of my two sons, particularly the younger one. The song was originally about a rat named Ben in a movie by the same name, but that didn't matter. It was a hauntingly lovely and sentimental song and it expressed my feelings for my abused sons:
I used to say
I and me
Now it's us
Now it's we

Later my ex-wife got smart and divorced the SOB, and gave me custody of my sons. The new Mrs. Chomper raised them as her own and they were never abused again by anyone.

Here's the song, sung by Michael Jackson when he was still young.

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