I have this vision that Michael Jackson has spent the last few years surrounded by people who had no interest other than diverting as much of his money as possible towards their own support. Despite all the schadenfreude I felt over the King of Pop’s many scandals, I also always felt sorry for him, robbed as he was of any pretense towards a normal life at any time. All of which is a little weird since he wasn’t just King of Pop, he was King of the Whole World while I was in Elementary School.
I distinctly remember walking into handwriting class during first grade, seeing Matt and Walker and Tyson standing there in their oh-so-cool Michael Jackson mesh t-shirts. Even though it was years before _Bad_ came out, I knew these three were bad, and I wished I was. Weeks later, when clothes shopping with my parents, I saw a red Michael Jackson t-shirt with black mesh, and I somehow talked my parents — who wouldn’t know from Andrew Jackson — into buying it. Of course, I never felt cool enough to wear it, and it just sat in my closet, next to the lederhosen.
In fourth grade our gym teacher, Tom Lamonica told us we’d be doing an exhibition for some sort of assembly that parents would be at. We’d been doing a lot of calisthenics, so I thought: sit-up contests? Rope climbing? No; Tyson was going to teach us all a breakdancing routine that we’d do to some Michael Jackson. Now, Mr. Lamonica was stern, uncompromising, loud, ramrod-straight, and generally made gym class hurt, so I have no idea how a troublemaker like Tyson would get involved in some vast conspiracy with him. However, a few weeks later, there we were doing our breakdancing routine in front of a good couple of dozen parents, wearing our blue cotton gym uniforms with the elastic waistbands that made the short shorts puff right out.
I was probably awful. But it was fun! And, by Junior High, there were new kings out there anyway. But none like Michael Jackson. I hope nothing ever outsells Thriller, because he was king of everything, him and his “Diana-from-V”:http://media.photobucket.com/image/v%20diana/maribola00/dianaV.jpg jacket, his mesh shirts, his moonwalk that I could never do. It’s a pity that all that got us was some some bodyguards and assistants living large for a decade.
fn1. Hey, I was 5 or 6!
fn2. This is true.
fn3. I believe he was Daryle’s cousin, which never quite made sense since Daryle was from California fruit country and Tom was from Maryland horse country, but…