Thursday, June 25, 2009
In the sixth grade I had a Michael Jackson poster on my wall--the yellow one? He was wearing a lemon colored sweater vest with matching bow tie and his eyes looked sad. It made me feel funny, the poster, his wet sad eyes, tingly funny down there the way he was just so good next to my poster of Billy Idol sneering. Human Nature--yes, that's what it was--the poster for Human Nature. Now all these years later Michael Jackson is still making me feel funny, but it is not tingly and it is not down there. It is somewhere in my brain cold and stale; I don't know what to think. By now you have probably read a thousand and one tributes to Michael Jackson and you will likely hear a million and one more, surprise at his death, his life in song, photos of his nose collapsing throughout the years. And what I have to say is not all that different: I am surprised. Saddened. Intrigued. But I am also supremely confused. Who died today? (I mean other than Farrah Fawcett and millions of other people I do not know.) Did the King of Pop die? One of the most talented entertainers in the business? A damaged man with too much plastic surgery and a penchant for Peter Pan? Or did a child molester die? A predator, a liar? A monster? It is easy to hate a child molester. No matter the background, the reason, if there can even be a reason for such a thing. It's black and white: child molesters are evil. They deserve The Portrait of Dorian Gray, for their noses to crumble, their skin to mottle, to be alone and sad, stewing in the decay of their own miserable wrong amid tacky marble statues of monkeys and castrati. Child molesters deserve to die. But what if Michael Jackson wasn't a child molester? I go back and forth with what I think. Maybemaybemaybe. The man was talented, of that there is no question. But maybemaybemaybe and now he's dead and I will never know anything but that maybe. How are we supposed to mourn such a divided maybe? Whatever the answer I do mourn this: New Year's Eve 1983. I guess I was eleven but I felt fourteen. My parents had left me alone while they went to a party, the first time ever, and my friend Tawna was spending the night. We partied with Martinelli's cider and MTV, one hand on the remote and the other sweaty on the receiver of the telephone. We were talking to Aaron Boyde. Aaron Boyde! The cutest guy in the sixth grade, his voice on the line telling us that at the stroke of midnight he would ask one of us to go. It was dreamy, sexy, romantic, Martinelli's and MTV, knowing that we were alone in the house on New Year's Eve. Aaron Boyde did the best centipede in class. Or was it called the caterpillar? I may be old now but I remember the way he waved his prone body across the assembly stage floor like ribbon, his red lips. At 11:55 the new Thriller video came on and we watched it enrapt, Tawna and I on the phone with Aaron Boyd, and at 11:59 the zombies began their synchronized dance and Aaron began his sentence with Tawna... I think what we will mourn most is our memories set to the music of Michael Jackson. The gloved one, P.Y.T., the freak with the pressurized oxygen chamber, not the man himself because we didn't actually know him. Was he a monster or a damaged man/boy? Who knows? He's dead and all we have left is a thousand and now two tributes to the King of Pop, the musician, the myth of Michael Jackson, this black and white maybe about a man with supposed vitiligo.
Posted by Petunia Face at 7:17 PM